State set to regulate realtors in proposal before Parliament

Thursday, May 2nd, 2024 02:47 | By
Molo MP Kimani Kuria. PHOTO/Print
Molo MP Kimani Kuria. PHOTO/Print

Real estate operators will be regulated by the State if a bill that has been published is passed by Parliament.

The Bill by Molo MP Kimani Kuria seeks for the establishment of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority to check on the operations of the dealers.

Kuria’s proposal seeks to provide for the establishment of the authority, which will regulate real estate projects such as licensing requirements for the real estate agents, brokers and developers.

“I presented a Legislative Proposal on the Real Estate Regulation Bill, 2024 to the Budget and Appropriations Committee, chaired by the Vice-chairperson Mary Emaase (Teso South),” Kuria confirmed yesterday.

He said: “A lot of Kenyans are losing their money through investments of non-existent pieces of land or apartments. Hence, there is a need to have a proper regulatory framework to safeguard the interests of property buyers & investors and weed out the unscrupulous operators.”

According to the MP who also chairs the Finance and Planning Committee, having the Regulatory Authority will have potential benefits such as revenue generation via issuance of various licenses, and enhanced professionalism while adhering to ethical standards in the real estate industry.

Second reading

The bill is the second one on the matter as another by Kirinyaga Central MP Joseph Gitari is pending before the National Assembly.

The Gitari bill seeks the establishment of an agency that would regulate the proliferation and activities of all land-buying companies. Land buying companies will be required to seek registration and licences to operate if a bill that is currently before Parliament is passed.

Last year parliament passed the Lands Act, 2012 (Amendment) Bill that will see the State collect Sh28 million annually from land-buying companies.

Swindle buyers

Currently, such companies operate casually without being regulated, a gap which has seen some of them swindle unsuspecting buyers.

The National Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC), chaired by Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, wants the bill fast-tracked to regulate the activities of more than 200 land buying companies to protect the interest of persons buying land from them.

Gitari seeks to amend the Land Act, 2012 to provide for registration, licensing, and regulation of over 200 land dealing entities in the country to protect the interest of persons buying land from such companies.

The new bill is also seeking to protect the interests of buyers who have ended up being conned after buying land either without title deeds or those allocated to more than one person.

The proposed law further seeks to create an agency that would control the increase of land-buying companies in the country.

Under the proposed law the regulator will have powers to impose penalties of up to Sh5 million for non-compliance by the land-buying companies.

Gitari told the committee that he was motivated to move the amendment bill to save investors who have been conned by such companies rogue professionals like lawyers, land surveyors and land valuers into buying non-existent parcels of land due to a lack of sufficient laws to regulate land buying entities.

“To regulate this industry a law needs to be enacted to bring sanity and protect innocent buyers from falling prey to these companies,” Gitari told the committee.

The MP the companies use celebrities in the media and in particular vernacular stations to advertise non-existent land.

He added: “There is no legislation or policy that regulates the operations of land dealing companies. The directors capitalise on this loophole to rip off unsuspecting buyers.”

Under the new law an agency that would regulate the proliferation and activities of all land-buying companies will be established. “The Bill provides for payment of a registration fee by each land dealing company which will be prescribed by the Cabinet Secretary responsible for Land and renewed every year,” Gitari said.

He told the committee that most of those who have fallen victims to the unscrupulous companies have been denied justice even after reporting to the security agencies as there are regulatory instruments.

Gitari said the land-buying companies had attempted to address the proliferation of fraudulent land-buying and selling companies by forming the Real Estate Stakeholders Association.

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