The Law & Process Of Conversion Of Titles In Kenya

Conversion refers to the statutory process of migrating all parcels of land from repealed land registration statutes to a unitary regime under the current Land Registration Act, No. 3 of 2012.

The titles issued under the repealed statutes are cancelled and replaced with titles under the new regime.

The ownership of the properties, the parcel size and the interest conferred are not affected by this process.

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Legal Framework Governing Conversion

The process is provided for and regulated by various statutes including:

  • Constitution of Kenya 2010
  • the Land Registration Act No. 3 of 2012,
  • the Land Registration (Registration Units) Order 2017,
  • Land Registration (Electronic Transactions) Regulations 2020,
  • the Sectional Properties Act 2020,
  • the Survey (Electronic Cadastre Transactions) Regulations 2020,
  • the Physical and Land Use Planning Act 2019 and the Land Registration (General) Regulations 2017

Rationale of conversion of Titles

There are three main objectives in the conversion of titles:

  • To create a uniform system of identification of all land parcels as envisaged in the Land Registration Act (align registration system).
  • To sieve out titles that were irregularly acquired and that had been registered under the old system.
  • To allow all transaction to be carried out through the National Land Information Management System, otherwise known as ‘Ardhi sasa’. (New platform whose aim is to consolidate all land information and enable citizens transact on their properties with ease).

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Process of Conversion of Titles

The survey department provides the cadastral maps together with a conversion list indicating the old land reference numbers, new parcel numbers and the parcel sizes for parcels of land subject to conversion;

The Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning publishes the conversion list and the cadastral maps of the affected properties in the Kenya Gazette and two national daily newspapers;

  • Owners of the affected properties are given ninety (90) days to view the list and make complaints to the Land Registrar regarding the conversion, should they have any complaints;
  • Owners could have complaints related to acreage
  • In case any complaint is lodged, the Land Registrar is required to register a caution on the affected property pending the resolution of the complaint;
  • Once the 90-day period expires, and no complaint is lodged, the registers of the affected properties maintained under the repealed statutes are closed and a new register under the Land Registration Act is opened for the affected properties;
  • The Land Registrar issues a notice to the public inviting the owners of the affected properties to apply for the replacement of titles.
  • The notice should be published in two national daily newspapers and announced on radio stations of nation-wide coverage.

Land Owners then submit applications for replacement of title in accordance with the notice from the Land Registrar.

Within 7 days of receiving applications for the replacement of titles, the Land Registrar is required to issue new titles under the Land Registration Act to the owners of the affected properties.

The replaced titles will be cancelled and kept in safe custody in the new registers.

Process of Conversion of Titles

Complaint is required to be submitted, in writing to the Lands Registrar in the prescribed form within ninety (90) days from the date of the Gazette Notice. The complaint should include:

  • the name, address and telephone number of the complainant;
  • nature of the complaint; and
  • the grounds of the objection.

A complaint number will then be assigned to a complaint in order to facilitate further follow up and resolution. The law requires a Registrar to resolve the complaints within ninety (90) days of their submission.

A complainant may apply to the Land Registrar for the registration of a caution pending the clarification or resolution of any complaint.

The Land Registrar may also register a restriction to prevent any fraud or improper dealing in the land.

Once the complaint is resolved, the Land Registrar will order the removal or variation of the caution or restriction.

A person aggrieved by the decision of the Registrar can lodge an appeal in the High Court within 30 days.

Replacement of Deed Plans

It is important to note that the process of conversion of titles involves replacement of title deed plans with Registry Index Maps (RIM) as registration’s instrument.
The aim is to minimize incidences of fraud because RIMs capture a wider area of land parcels in a designated area as opposed to Deed Plans which focus only on a specific land parcel in isolation.
Boundaries of land will not be affected because RIMs are generated from the existing survey plans.
RIMs maps can be viewed and purchased at the Survey of Kenya head office located in Ruaraka.

Application for Replacement- Checklist

Where the land is charged, proprietor shall be required to obtain consent of the chargee and also ensure partial discharge of the charge for purpose of replacing the title.

The process of conversion is set to be carried out in phases, with a pilot programme currently underway in Nairobi. The Ministry of Lands has already issued a number of Gazette Notices containing various parcels of land marked for conversion and is likely to issue more Notices.


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