How to tell a genuine title deed from a fake

Many Kenyans continue to be conned of their hard earned cash by brokers and impostors with the promise that the title to be transferred is genuine and authentic. However, many fall for the trap of buying properties that do not exist.
The information below will help you to conduct due diligence on a property title and the property under reference to avoid being conned:-

Is it Fake or real?
You should obtain expert advice on the authenticity of the title deed (Registered Land Act-Title deeds or Certificate of lease.
Registration of Titles Act – Grants or Certificate of Title). You can go to the land registry that registered the title and inquire more about the title and the area the title refers to.
Which Act?
Check if the title is Registered Land Act (chapter 300),
Registration of Titles Act (Chapter 281),
Government Lands Act(chapter 280),
Land Act 2012 or Land Registration Act 2012.
Change of user
If the title has a change of user, ensure a new grant has been issued and the original one surrendered or that change user has been endorsed on the original title or original grant.
Leasehold property?
Check conditions endorsed on original title or lease, and the terms of the leasehold title. Check when the extension of lease will be required.
Spouse consent?
Find out from the seller whether their spouse/partner has given consent for the sale of the land. Their permission will be required at the Land Board for the transfer of property to take place.
Confirm Location
View the property in person. Organise with a surveyor to obtain a mutation from Survey of Kenya that indicates the exact location of the land. The surveyor will confirm the location of the land on the ground and confirm the land size.
Title search
This is done at the Lands Registry.
A copy of ID*, PIN*, Copy of Title deed, Search application form and fees are required.
A couple of title searches using different people at different times before money changes hands, is highly recommended.
Seller’s ID search
This is done at the Registration of Persons Bureau when buying from an individual. This will confirm whether you are dealing with the owner of the land. A copy of their ID with their photo will be provided after the search.
Company search
This is done at the Company Registry when the seller is a company
Criminal Investigation Department check
Visit the local CID office for a list of plots/land with issues and individuals involved in questionable land dealings. CID will normally have their ID numbers.
Proof of Ownership
Talk to neighbours, the local chief, village elders and previous owners if they are Co-operatives or a land buying company to confirm who the current owner is. You may also ask them whether there has been any dispute involving the property.
Ndun’gu Land Report
Check if it is illegal or irregularly acquired land using this report.
This report can be perused from any valuation firm at a small fee.
Road Authorities Check
Contact relevant roads authorities (KRB, KeRRA, KURA or KeNHA) to find out if the land is encroaching on road reserves. The authorities will confirm the minimum allowable road width adjacent to the property. If the mutation is indicating the width is less, that is a red flag.
Land history
Check with Land Registry or Ardhi House for a list of previous owners. Also check the original land maps before the land was subdivided to ascertain that the property is not on a road reserve or public utility. Subsequent maps are also vital to ensure that the land has never been bought by the Government.
This can be checked at Survey of Kenya using a surveyor to quicken the process.
Town Planning
Check the current use of property e.g. agricultural/residential/industrial/public land and proposed or planned future use from the Council. A change of use can be applied for but not guaranteed, in many Counties.

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