Documents needed to enable smooth sale of Property in Kenya

legal docs when selling a house

Real Estate property can be in form of vacant land or built-up property.

Vacant land.

Vacant land ownership is documented in terms of title deeds. These can be leasehold or freehold. Leasehold titles have the 99 year lease from the Government of which a specific amount of money is to be paid to the Government. Freehold titles do not have the requirement for payment. Most farmlands in Kenya are freeholds. Most urban plots in Kenya are leaseholds.

A typical vacant land sale starts when the buyer agrees with the seller on the amount then a written agreement for the sale is drafted by a conveyancing lawyer and signed by the 2 parties. Usually, an initial 10% of sale value is to be paid out to the seller after signing of the agreement. With this amount, the seller can then work out the transfer documents with the conveyancing lawyer, get consent to sell from the District Commissioner’s office in readiness for the final transfer to the new owner. Once these are in place, the buyer can then finish off the 90% remainder of the money payment and then with the consent for sale plus the signed transfer documents, work with a conveyancing lawyer to liaise with Ministry of Lands at the Lands Registry to change ownership records into their name.

The same happens to built up property that has a house/building in it.

For several owners, they can come together and register a Limited Liability company which in turn will own the land. The shares in the limited liability company will then be owned by the individuals.


Apartments and office blocks usually have sectional titles under the Sectional Properties Act. In preparation of a sectional title, the building is constructed, then the original title is recalled by the Ministry of Lands and a new file is opened in which several sectional titles based on the architectural drawings are produced, clearly naming the floor, room number and room size as indicated in the architectural drawing. The sectional titles can then be transferred to new owners through sale agreements.

In sectional ownership, the land is owned by a Limited Liability Company which every owner in the apartment is also a shareholder. The management of the company then decides the amounts that each owner will contribute towards maintenance of the building’s public areas e.g lawns, parking, sewer, security etc. The sectional property law describes measures to be taken to resolve issues arising within the apartment.

Architect Francis Gichuhi Kamau.


Arch. Francis Gichuhi Kamau. (337 Posts)

Architect Francis Gichuhi . B.Arch. University of Nairobi. Registered Architect, Kenya. Member, Architectural Association of Kenya. Contacts. email Telephone +254721410684


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