In a bid to digitize and ease the processes and dealings relating to Land in Kenya, the Ministry of Lands launched an online National Lands Information Management System dubbed “Ardhisasa”.

The system as described on the website “is an online platform that allows Citizens, other stakeholders and interested parties to interact with land information held and processes undertaken by Government. It has been developed jointly by the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning (MoLPP) and the National Land Commission (NLC) and key partners in Government. It allows the lodgment of applications for various services offered by the Ministry and the Commission. The applications are handled through the platform and responses presented through it.”

The introduction of this system signals a shift in dealings relating to land from the handling of manual and physical records to the handling of dealings online.

STEPS TO BE TAKEN BY LANDOWNERS.

To access services on the system landowners are required to register themselves and the lands they own on the system. This is done as follows:

  1. Registration on the Platform
  2. Individuals

As a Landowner you must log onto the platform and register as a user. This is done by use of your Kenyan identification card serial number & identification card number, mobile telephone number and email address. Your mobile number and email address will be verified by way of a one-time password so kindly ensure you have access to the same while signing up.

It is important to note that for one to access services on the platform a passport photo of themselves must also be uploaded on the system.

  • Companies

Companies that own land will also be able to register on the system using the company registration number. The company must provide contact details of at least two persons who will authorise transactions on behalf of the company, preferably the company directors or director/secretary. The official company phone number and company email address will also be required.

  • Details of Properties Owned

Once registered, you will be required to provide details of all properties owned which will be verified against the information held by the relevant lands registry on NLIMS. Once verification is completed, you will be able to transact on your own behalf or appoint an advocate to transact on your behalf.

All transactions carried out on the platform will require the approval of the landowner prior to processing and this will be done by verification through a One Time Password sent to the landowner through their phone number or email address. If an advocate is acting on your behalf, you will be required to log onto the platform and grant authorization for the transaction to proceed.

Key features of the system

The platform allows access to various services including but not limited to:

  • Placing cautions/caveats on a property;
  • Registration and transfer of titles;
  • Replacement of title deeds;
  • Title deed searches;
  • Payment of stamp duty;
  • Payment of Land Rates and Land Rent.

Subsequent Developments at the Nairobi Lands Registry

In the rolling out of the system the Ministry has for the first phase made available all properties registered under the Nairobi Registry. Some properties registered under the Nairobi Registry may not be available for the following reasons:

  1. Properties may have incomplete data records.
  2. Properties registered as long-term leases based on architectural plans are not yet recognized by the system.
  3. Properties recognized as public land and captured on the Ndungu Land report.

In the recent weeks various notices have been put out by the Ministry of Lands relating to transactions on the Ardhisasa platform. The notices are to the following effect:

  1. Registration of Sectional Units under the Sectional Properties Act.

The notice of 7th May 2020 reiterates the requirement to convert all long-term sub-leases intended to confer ownership to apartments, villas, offices etc. which do not conform with section 54 (5) of the Land Registration Act, 2012 and section 13 of the Sectional Properties Act, 2020.

The ministry in a bid to ensure compliance with the above-mentioned legal provisions has stated that they intend to convert long-term leases previously registered on the basis of architectural drawings, to conform with the current land regime. Registration and issuance of titles for such units will only be done where the units are properly geo-referenced and approved by the statutory body responsible for the survey of land.

The process of conversion of the existing subleases of such units is as follows:

  1. The registered proprietor of the head title, developer, management company or the owner of a lease of a unit shall make an application for a replacement of a title on Form LRA 97 attached with a sectional plan (georeferenced and duly authenticated by the Director of Survey). Georeferencing of the property is to be at the governments cost on priority basis.
  2. Thereafter the registered proprietors/ unit owners shall make an application for replacement of long-term leases on Form LRA 97 for issuance of new certificate of lease.

The relevant documents to be presented at the land registry are:

  1. The Sectional Plan.
    1. Original Title. (The Registrar may dispense with the production of the original title if the developer is not willing or is unavailable to surrender the title, for the purposes of conversion)
    1. Long-term lease previously registered.
    1. Rent apportionment for the unit where applicable.
  2. Registration of the sectional plan.
  3. Original registers shall be closed and new register for the each of units described opened.
  4. Uploading the property register for the units on Ardhisasa.
  5. Proceed with the registration process.

The Ministry has provided some reprieve to landowners as they will not incur fresh or additional stamp duty charges upon conversion if they paid the requisite stamp duty when registering the long-term lease.

The Ministry has stipulated that from 10th May 2021, it will no longer register long-term leases supported by architectural drawings intending to confer ownership. Henceforth, should one be undertaking the process of registration of sectional units the general procedure for issuance of new titles is to apply and it is necessary provide the following information:

  1. The sectional plans submitted for registration should be geo-referenced.
  2. Indicate the parcel number.
  3. Indicate the units’ number.
  4. Indicate the approximate floor area of each unit.
  5. The sectional plans must be signed by the proprietor; and signed and sealed by the Director of Survey.
  6. The plan must clearly indicate the user of the unit.
  • Pending Land Transactions and Payment Of Land Rent

Payment of land rent has traditionally been done on the e-citizen platform. However effective May 17th, 2021 payment of rent for properties under the Nairobi Registry, through this platform was suspended with the ministry directing that all payment be done through the Ardhisasa Platform.

To enable this one must register on the platform, register the property owned, and thereafter click on Land Rent and Land Administrative Services. Thereafter follow the prompts to complete payment.

In summary, the introduction and operationalization of this system is greatly lauded by industry stakeholders. Previously the handling of land dealings was shrouded with several delays, occasions of fraud and misplacement of records. The introduction of this system will aid in the resolution of such issues and improve efficiency and service delivery in the long run. The system is further expected to increase revenue collection for the Government, reduce land transaction costs and incentivize investment in the sector of land.

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