Titles for apartments to be out in 6 months, says CS

Tuesday, August 8th, 2023 00:15 | By
Lands CS Zacharia Mwangi Njeru
Lands CS Zacharia Mwangi Njeru. PHOTO/Benard Gitau

If you own an apartment in a block, you will be able to get your sectional property title deed in six months, the Ministry of Land has said.

According to Lands and Physical Planning Cabinet Secretary Zack Njeru, the implementation of Sectional Properties Act has stalled since its enactment in December 2020 but now there is hope to have it unlocked.

“We have few property owners who have complied with the Act and this was mainly affected by Covid-19 among other challenges,” said Njeru.

The timeframe was set after the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning signed a memorandum of understanding with the Institute of Surveyors of Kenya, Law Society of Kenya and Kenya Bankers Association (KBA).

To get the sectional titles for each unit in an apartment, the property owner must show proof that they have initiated the process of geo-referencing.  “The agreement is aimed at unlocking the difficulty experienced in registering, selling and getting long-term leases for sectional properties over the last three years,” said CS Njeru.

Raimond Molenje, who is the Head of Legal at KBA, as a result of the challenge, individuals who wanted to buy or sell flats through bank financing could not succeed.

“Since the inception of the act, the value of the transactions that were stuck in banks because of this challenge ranged between Sh104 billion,” said Molenje.

Due to this, early this year as the new Administration was settling into office, the Law Society of Kenya brought a petition to the Ministry of Lands, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development.

The petition, which was received by Cabinet Secretary Zachariah Njeru and the PS for Lands and Physical Planning Generali Nixon Korir, wanted the State to address the issue as well as other challenges faced by users of Ardhisasa, the new online system created for processing land transactions.

“As of now, the transactions backlog has reduced to Sh54 billion and with this MoU, we are hopeful we will clear it soon,” added Molonje.

With an agreement in place, CS Njeru says unit owners in an apartment can use their sectional titles as collateral for loans, making it easy to sell or buy the unit with a document of ownership.

Pick coordinates

Korir said the sectional property titles will be derived from coordinates in the house which will be recorded by a surveyor.

“A surveyor will pick coordinates from the unit and those coordinates will form a unique identifier which will be the title number,” he said.

According to the Act, the boundaries of sectional units are described by reference to a floor, wall or ceiling or a wall located within a unit is a load bearing wall, the only portion of that floor, wall or ceiling the finishing material that is in the interior of that unit, including any lath and plaster, panelling, gypsum board panels, flooring material or coverings or any other material that is attached, laid, glued or applied to the floor, wall or ceiling all doors and windows of a unit are part of the unit unless otherwise stipulated in the sectional plan.

To get sectional titles, the law stipulates that an existing structure may be designated a building containing a unit or part of a unit or divided into two or more units by the registration of a sectional plan prepared, by a surveyor, from a building plan that has been approved by a county government.

It adds that a surveyor shall not prepare a sectional plan unless he is presented with proof of ownership of the parcel or unit to which the sectional plan shall apply.

The registration of a sectional plan, the Registrar shall close the register of the parcel described in it and open a separate register for each unit described in the plan.

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