Ultimate guide to the process of change of user for land in Kenya

Ultimate guide to the process of change of user for land in Kenya

We covered the different ways in which land is categorized in Kenya from Agricultural, industrial, residential to commercial in another blog. In case you missed it, the blog is available on Categories
of Real Estate in Kenya

Whether you are seeking to change or
convert use of land from agricultural  land to commercial land or changing land use
from residential to commercial this guide will help you understand the process
of applying for a change of user in Kenya.

To leard how to change land user on Ardhisasa, use this guide on how to use ardhisasa to change land user in Nairobi.

In summary, below are the requirements for application
for a change of user.

1.      Two Dully filled P.P.A 1 forms in
triplicate submitted and signed by a Registered Physical Planner

2.      Planning Brief prepared by a Registered
Physical Planner (signed accordingly)

3.       Ownership documents (Title Deeds)

4.       Survey plan

5.       Comprehensive Location Plan

6.       Advertisement of proposal on:

a.        Two
local dailies

b.       On

7.      Application fee receipt

8.       Latest Rates payment receipts

& Statutory Costs
for a
change in user.

The Statutory & Professionals Costs involved for the change of user
application are
summarized below:

1.      Change of User Application fee (Counties
charge differently depending on location or the change sought)

2.       PPA
1 form fee

3.       Newspaper Advertisements (Two daily

4.       Professional Fee (Depends on the size of the
project and the area the property is located)

The power to control land use and development
in Kenya is vested in the County Governments
. The owner or the legal entity of any property, who intends to
develop his/her land for any purpose other than that earmarked in the approved
Master Plan, will make an application, along with relevant documents, to the
respective County Governments’ Department of Physical Planning for
consideration through a registered physical planner.
of user from residential or single-dwelling to multi-dwelling
the initial application and approval stage at the local authorities and the final
approval and processing of the title at the Department of Lands.

It is advisable that prior to acquiring a piece of land,
to know the user of the property especially for developers as the process
itself can prove to be very expensive and time consuming. Most people buy
agricultural property with the intention of developing it for real estate
purposes without knowing its use, this can be very detrimental as one cannot be
able to develop the property without a change of user approval.

Advertisement in Local dailies

Place an advertisement
in at least two (2) local dailies of wide circulation giving fourteen (14) days’
notice of the intended change of user and inviting comments and/or objections,
if any. Upon expiry of the notice period and subject to no adverse
comments/objections, you can then submit the application at the local

Step 2: Application to Local

Prepare a planning brief by the registered physical planner
which is then submitted to the governing county government physical department
for approval together with payment.
Application is done using Form PPA1(in triplicate) duly signed
by a registered physical planner.
In the application, include such plans and particulars as are
necessary to indicate the purposes of the development, and in particular the
proposed use and density, and the land which the applicant intends to surrender
either for purposes of access or public purposes connected to the development.

The local
authority to which a development application has been made is required within
30 days of receipt of the application to refer the same to the Director of
Physical Planning for his comments. In addition, referral may be made to the
other related government offices for comment including the Commissioner of
Lands, Chief Engineer (Roads), Chief Public Health Officer and the Director of
Agriculture. In considering such an application, a number of factors are
considered such as a physical development of the area, the land reference and
title, where applicable, defined location and size of the land, current user of
the land, proposed/intended user, area zoning regulations and whether due
notification has been made for the proposed development.

local authority upon receiving comments of no objection from the said offices
may issue its approval to the development application with or without
conditions or may on the other hand refuse to grant its approval. The Physical
Planning Act requires the local authority to communicate its decision in regard
to a development application within thirty days to the applicant specifying the
conditions pertaining to the approval or in the case of a refusal, the grounds
for the same. The law also makes provisions for appeal incase an applicant is
dissatisfied with any decision of the local authority.

by the local authorities is in the prescribed form PPA 2. Upon obtaining the
approval, a developer may commence construction within two (2) years from the
date of the approval subject to obtaining a licence from the National
Environmental Management Authority (NEMA). In considering whether or not to
grant a licence, NEMA looks at both the conditions of approval by the local
authorities i.e. form PPA2 and the proposed architectural designs.

Application to the
Lands Office

Commissioner of Lands bears the onus to approve the change of user and set the
pace for its effecting into the ownership documents. At the lands office, the
Commissioner of Lands receives the application and the approval form -PPA2 in a
correspondence file. The work is then assigned to a lands’ officer of the level
of Chief Lands Officer, on behalf of the Commissioner.

the Commissioner’s office is sent forth a circulation letter seeking comments
from the Director of Survey and Director of Physical Planning. The comments
from the two directors are then brought back to the Commissioner who then sends
the Chief Lands Officer to the property. The officer compiles a Ground Report.
With this, the property owner is then allowed to proceed with an Official
Search to ensure every detail is in the file.

file is then circulated vertically within the Commissioner of Lands hierarchy
as follows: First, to the Chief Lands Officer, secondly, the Principal Lands
Officer, thirdly the Assistant Commissioner of Lands. The file is then taken
for a Technical Approval Committee (TAC) where issues pertaining to the land
and its change of user are discussed and ratified. Minutes of the TAC are then
circulated to the Deputy Director of Survey who forwards it to the Commissioner
of Lands.

there are no objections relating or incidental to the application, the file is
then sent back to the Lands Officer who handled it who then drafts the approval
letter (on behalf of the Commissioner of Lands) complete with new conditions
and demands to be met. Among the conditions requested include need for new deed
plans and new titles which will call for the property to be resurveyed. The
Survey Act (Cap.299) provides for the modalities to survey private land.
Validation and approval of the change of user by the Director of Surveys
signifies the call for resurvey of the property in question. In this case, the
property owner is counseled to seek services of a registered surveyor to draw
new deed plans for the property, which are then approved by the Director of
Survey who will then commission the confirmation, erection and/or re-erection
of the beacons of the new property. The survey process has 8 stages that
culminate to approval by the Director of Survey where also a new land reference
number is issued for the property.

the resurvey and deed plans complete, the applicant fills up an application
form to apply for new titles from the Land Registrar. The applicant then
surrenders the old title(s) and the new deed plan(s) to the Registrar who then
files a deed file
The registrar then proceeds to process new title(s)
for the property with
the new user included and the new attendant conditions.


back and forth process of effecting a change of user is a long- winding and
tedious process that requires much knowledge and patience. It is always
important to engage professionals in this process. If you wish to obtain a
change of user approval in Kenya please do not hesitate to contact
 Steddy Trading Real Estate on 0722244971 or call us on 0726982982. Alternatively, you can write to us on



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