Most people seeking land for development end up with unsuitable ones for the projects they had in mind simply because they did not understand the various categories of land and the tenure system applied in Kenya. Understanding types of land ownership is of paramount importance especially when it comes to purchasing land.
Land tenure is the act, right or period of holding land. There are two types of land tenure system in Kenya:
It is the greatest interest a person can have on land as it gives the holder absolute ownership of the land for life. This means descendants can succeed the owner for as long as the family lineage exists. A freehold title deed generally has no restrictions as to the use or occupation. However, there are conditional freeholds, which restrict the use of the land, for instance, for agricultural purposes or ranching only. A freehold interest is also known as fee sample or absolute proprietorship.
This is the interest in land for a specific period subject to payment of a fee or rent to the grantor. Payment of rates is made to the respective county governments for services rendered. Leases are granted by the Government for public land, local authority for trust land and individuals with freeholds. The maximum term of government leases is 99 years.
A leaseholder can also apply for a renewal or extension of the lease more particularly if he or she wants to redevelop the property and the lease period is about to expire or the remaining period is not enough to recoup the investments.