Ultimate step by step guide to land subdivision in Kenya: Guide to doing subdivisions like a pro

Sub-division is the process of dividing one parcel of land into two or more parts. As a real estate agent, you may want to do this in case you want to sell a piece of land after splitting it into smaller pieces. Subdivision may be occasioned by need to share a property among several people, convey a gift of part of a property, sell, develop part of a piece of land or for collateral purposes.

Subdivision is the opposite of amalgamation. Amalgamation is combining two or more pieces of land that are under separate titles into one piece of land with only one title. In case you missed it, you can read more about the procedure for amalgamation of plots in Kenya.

The process of subdivision is fairly simple as.

Step1: Preparation of a sub-division scheme details.

Before you begin the process, visit your local land registry and conduct a search to verify ownership or if any caveat has been placed on the land. You can do this yourself or have a surveyor do this for you. Land searches usually take around 3 days. For properties within Nairobi, please create an account on Ardhisasa  and follow this guide on how to conduct an online land search through Ardhisasa. The Institute of Kenya Surveyors has a list of all registered surveyors in Kenya. Hiring a surveyor is advisable and they will also help you to identify the exact boundaries of the property and will also advise you on the best way to do land subdivision.

After the official search, the surveyor will help you obtain a registry index map (RIM) from the Institute of Surveyors of Kenya. The RIM is a map that covers a large geographic area in which the land to be subdivided lies. Using the map, the surveyor visits the land to ascertain the measurements indicated on the maps are the exact measurements on the ground.

Once measurements are confirmed, the surveyor then prepares a Subdivision Scheme, which must be signed by a Registered Physical Planner who then gives a Physical Planning Act form commonly known as PPA 1 Form. The physical planner must have a valid license from the Physical Planners’ Registration Board.

The easiest thing is to hire a surveyor or a physical planner to handle the full process. Discuss with the physical planner or surveyor on the objectives intend to achieve and formalize the relationship by agreeing on fees and timelines through a signed agreement.

Step 2: Submission to the County Government.

The subdivision scheme is then presented to the county government. The county government circulates the scheme to various County departments and Government Agencies for evaluation. Evaluation is done for items like zoning compliance, roads alignment, water reserves and other environmental considerations. Also, the committees will review social amenities provided e.g. schools, plot size, road size, drainage, sewer reticulation and assess sufficiency of these.

The accompanying documents to be given to the county government include:

Requirements for land Subdivision of land in Kenya:

1)        Certificate of official Search.

2)        Ownership documents/ Title deed of the land

3)        Registry Index Map (RIM)/ Survey Map

4)        Copy of payment receipt for application of subdivision and land rates /Rates Clearance certificate. In Nairobi, remember you can pay for land rent using Ardhisasa.

5)        Copy of the physical planners practising certificate

6)        Land Control Board consent to sub-divide the land

7)        Duly filled Form PPA1

8)        Well-drawn scheme showing the proposed subdivision.

9)        Four copies of sub-division scheme plan signed by the physical planner (and the developer if applicable).

The county government may make requests for pieces of land to be set as public utilities for the approval to be done. Such public utilities include playgrounds or police stations. If any modifications to the subdivision requests are made, the Physical Planner and Land Surveyor will then go back to the drawing board and amend the subdivision plan to conform to the county government directives

If the county government is satisfied with the subdivision report a PP2 Form is issued approving the subdivision of land as per the surveyed plots. The county government may also approve and provide other conditions that should be put in place before the Ministry of Lands issues individual titles to the divided land.

Once all the conditions for subdivision as stated in the subdivision approval letter are met, the council inspects and issues a letter allowing the Ministry of Lands to issue all the remaining titles. If fulfilment of some conditions is capital intensive, the county government can offer phased approvals.

Step 3: Submission to the Land Control Board.

After issuance of PP2 forms, then a booking of a meeting by the lands Control Board can be set. The registered surveyor or planner will present the Subdivision scheme details, a current Title Search (valid for three months after date of issue), the PPA1 and the PPA2 to the Land Control Board for review and approval. The land control board is a meeting of local elders who sit at the sub-county level and approves all land transfers in their area. A meeting with the land control board must be booked at least two weeks in advance, and the board sits only once a month.The landowner is required to present themselves in front to the board with their spouse as applicable.

After getting the land control board consent, the surveyor places beacons to mark the boundaries. In rural areas, general boundaries are common where an error margin of one metre is allowed in the placement of beacons. In urban areas, cadastral (fixed) land boundaries, whose beacon positioning is measured in coordinates, is preferred.

Once the boundaries are marked, both the land owner and the surveyor are required to sign copies of the Mutation Form. The mutation forms, together with the search document, the consent form from the Land Control Board, the PPA1 and the PPA2 forms are then forms are then deposited with the district survey office, where a cartographer allocates new plot numbers to the subdivided plots.

 Step 4: Submission to the National government/Ministry of Lands.

The same documents presented to the county government together with the approvals are then deposited with the Institute of Surveyors of Kenya to allow for the amendment of the Registry Index Maps.

The same documents that were deposited  with the district survey office  are then taken to the respective land county registries to allow the land registrar in the processing individual land title deeds..

After a given period you then visit the county registries for the individual title deeds. once you have title deeds and intend to sell some of the plots/land, register with us by creating an account for free and start selling.

Land subdivision cost in Kenya.

There are various costs throughout the land subdivision process. The fee for the whole process varies and is charged depending on the land itself both the size and location.

Properties that cannot be subdivided

Not every piece of land can be subdivided.  Exemptions include;

·         A property that is collateral for a loan in a financial institution.

·         A property with a caveat on it to prevent any action on the property.

·         Property with a court case that is still pending and not yet resolved

Tax payment for subdivided land

If there is no change in ownership, then no taxation is done. However, if the plots are in the name of a different entity then you will need to pay capital gains tax.  If paying for stamp duty on Ardhisasa, you can use this guide on how to pay stamp duty on Ardhisasa.

I hope the above covers general questions you may have. While choosing a surveyor, it is advisable to go for a professional with good reputation and experience. If you require a qualified land surveyor, you can reach out to Steddy Trading Real Estate on 0722244971 or write to us on

Do you support subdivision of properties? Please comment below to add knowledge to the process.

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