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Types of Title Deeds In Kenya and How to Obtain Them

A title is a very important and legal document that proofs ownership of a home and of land. It should be the first thing to ask for when buying a property.

Title Deeds in Kenya are issued by Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development at the Ministry’ regional registries offices. See the four types of tittle deeds in Kenya

1.Certificate of Lease

Certificate of lease is the ownership document for leasehold property This Title deed is also known as Leasehold Titles. Leasehold land is one where ownership of the land is subjected to a definite period (maximum being 99 years). The lessee (occupant) holds rights to land for a specific period subject to conditions imposed on land rights by the lessor (landowner). The period can be 33, 50, 66, or 99 years for all urban plots. All plots in Nairobi County fall under this Lease Hold Titles. See general points relating to Lease Certificate

2.Absolute title deed

This type of Title deed is also known as Freehold Title. A Freehold title is where the landowner has the maximum rights to the land without any time period or any other restrictions. Once you have this type of Title Deed, the land is yours and has no conditions on ownership.

3.Sectional Tittle deed 

A sectional Title deed is issued to prove ownership for a unit within a building for example when you buy a house in an apartment or a flat.

4.Certificate of tittle

A title issued due to subdivision without change of user, it is under Registered Lands Act Cap 21.

Step by step on how to acquire a title deed

Step 1: Obtain Official land search

This stage is very important as it shows if someone else owns the land or if the land has been registered before.

Apply In-Person:

This is done at the ministry of lands and physical planning headquarters or in any of their Land Offices in local district/ Sub County. One is required to pay a fee of Ksh 500 for the search; submit a duly filled search application (form RL 26) and attach the copy title document. The land search at Lands office takes an average of 3 days.

After the search one is issued with a stamped Certificate of Official search (form RL 27) showing the status of the land.

Required documents

         i.            Duly filled Application for Official search (Form RL 26) Form RL 26

       ii.            Proof of land ownership

      iii.            PIN certificate (copy)

     iv.            Identity card (copy) for the applicant if Kenyan.

       v.            Foreign national registration certificate- alien card (copy) For foreigners who are residents in Kenya

     vi.            Passport (copy) for the applicant if a non-citizen.

Apply On-line

         i.            How to apply for a tittle deed online.

       ii.            Log onto the e-citizen portal E-Citizen and sign up

      iii.            Click on Ministry of Land, Housing & Urban Development link and choose the land search option

     iv.            Enter the title number and fill the online land search form Kenya and submit

       v.            Confirm the details and proceed to pay using the available payment method which can be a debit card, credit card, M-Pesa, or bank transfers. One is required to pay a fee of Ksh 500 for the search

     vi.            Once the payment is confirmed, the applicant can proceed to print the results, and if you choose not to, the information will always be available on the portal anytime you log in.

Step 2. Obtain land transfer documents

This step involves contacting a lawyer to facilitate obtaining and not arising the land transfer documents. The steps are as follows

i.                     Apply, pay and obtain rates clearance certificate from the County Government- This is done by the seller’s lawyer through consulting the local county government lands office. The whole process can take five days at the cost of Ksh. 10,000. This certificate proves that there are no outstanding fees to be paid at the City County’s office. Lawyer’s fees are calculated according to the value of the land. Upon payment of all outstanding Land Rates at the Local County Governments and upon an application and payment of the prescribed fees. The respective County Governments shall issue a Land Rates clearance certificate.

ii.                   Apply and Obtain Land Rent Clearance Certificate from the Commissioner of Lands – Upon payment of outstanding Land rent and on application, the commissioner of lands issues a Land rent clearance certificate. This certificate is proof that there are no outstanding fees to be paid to the County Government

iii.                  Apply and Obtain Consent to transfer from commissioner of Lands- The consent to transfer leasehold land held by the government under the repealed Act is required to be obtained from the National Land Commission. Upon payment and issuance of Both Land rent certificate and Land rate certificate, an application is made in writing by the lawyer to the commissioner of lands and the prescribed form executed for consent to transfer the desired property. Upon payment of the prescribed amount, consent to transfer is issued. This process takes nine days at the cost of Ksh. 1,000.


iv.                 File the transfer instrument at the Lands Office for assessment of stamp duty payable on the transfer- The draft transfer is done by the buyer’s lawyer and the transfer instrument has to be approved by the seller’s counterpart before it’s filled at the land’s office to be assessed for Stamp Duty. After the lawyer’s approval the instrument is submitted for assessment of stamp duty at the Lands registry. The stamp duty is 4% of property value for urban lands and 2% for rural lands. The stamp duty amount to be paid is indicated when the application is filed, but it takes approximately 7 days to obtain the receipt of payment (obligated to pay with a banker’s check) from the bank. The payment is made directly at the Lands Office.

Step 3. Obtain valuation for stamp duty

i.                     Receive inspection by land officer- Once the draft transfer has been filed at the land office, an inspector visits the site to verify the development and state of the property. Due to lack of transport, in practice, the inspector often has to be picked up in-person and driven to the site. There are no prior appointments made and the actual inspection may happen within one day or, in the worst case, one month. However, note that this time is not limited and, in some cases, entrepreneurs may wait months for a valuation. Once the evaluator has inspected the property, a report is compiled which the value is endorsed on the transfer.

ii.                   Obtain valuation of the property by Government evaluator- The inspector visits the site to evaluate and verify the indicated purchase price of the property in order to ensure accurate tax payment. If the assessed value differs from the one indicated by the parties, an additional payment is requested.

Step 4. Stamp duty payment

i.                     Endorsement of value for Stamp Duty and assessment of Stamp Duty- Complete the Stamp Duty from including the purchase price. The stamp duty assessment officer will then assess the stamp duty payable and indicate the amount on the forms. This takes three days.

ii.                   Payment of Stamp Duty- It is mandatory to pay the stamp duty with a banker’s check. The payment is made through commercial banks and the approved banks include the Kenya Commercial Bank and The National Bank of Kenya. Payment is made to the Commissioner of Domestic Taxes on behalf of the Commissioner of Lands. It takes four days for the Kenya Revenue Authority to confirm receipt of payment. This Stamp Duty is payable online via the KRA Itax portal

iii.                  Submission of the documents for franking/ obtaining franked documents- After payment of stamp duty, the transfer documents are submitted for franking to confirm that any charges or taxes, such as the stamp duty on those documents have been paid.

Step 5. Land Registration

i.                     Pay registration fees- A payment of Ksh 500 charged and one issued with a booking form to fill.

ii.                   Lodge the completion documents with Lands Office for registration of the transfer- The franked transfer documents are lodged for registration at the Lands Office. The seller’s lawyer obtains these documents which include; original certificate of Title, Rates Clearance Certificate, Land Rent Clearance Certificate and the consent transfer. This process takes 12 days.

i.         Duly filled booking form

ii.       Consent to transfer land (copy)

iii.      Official land search (original)

iv.     Land rates clearance receipt (copy)

v.       Land rent certificate (copy)

vi.     Transfer instrument (3 original + copy)

vii.    Identity card (copy)

viii.  PIN certificate (copy)

This process takes two weeks and Ksh. 5,000 is charged to obtain process a new title deed certificate.

After a successful registration you will receive the following document

i.         An original title deed with the name of the buyer

ii.       Registered transfer forms

iii.      The pay in slip of stamp duty

iii.                  Post purchase activity

After a week or two, you as the buyer should do another search with the ministry of Lands to confirm that the land is now under your name.

Required Documents

i.         Duly filled Application for Official search Form RL 26

ii.       Proof of land ownership

iii.      PIN certificate (copy)

iv.     Identity card (copy) for the applicant if Kenyan.

v.       Foreign national registration certificate- alien card (copy) For foreigners who are residents in Kenya

vi.     Passport (copy) for the applicant if a non-citizen.

vii.    Duly filled booking form

viii.  Consent to transfer land (copy)

ix.     Official land search (original)

x.       Land rates clearance receipt (copy)

xi.     Land rent certificate (copy)

xii.    Transfer instrument (3 original + copy)


For more details visit the ministry of lands and physical planning, ardhi house 1ST Ngong Avenue, Nairobi or vvisit their website :

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