A building is subdivided into units, after which there is registration of a sectional plan prepared by a surveyor. The sectional plan is obtained from a building plan that has been approved by a county government.
For tenants who needed legal documents confirming ownership of their area, the repeal of the Sectional Properties Act of 1987 in 2020 was an exciting prospect.
They required confirmation that they are the only owners of the properties shared with other renters.
It updated some key provisions of the 1987 Act and brought it in line with the new 2010 Constitution.
Nonetheless, over two years later, some landlords are still wary about losing their titles, which would allow tenants to possess sectional titles. Such landlords would prefer to maintain such people as tenants and charge a monthly rent.
Bernard Wanjohi, a land surveyor, observes that many landlords are dissatisfied with the transformation of their homes into sectional properties at a time when the idea of rent collecting becomes more appealing.
It is also costly for landowners in rural areas with uncertain boundaries to go through the process of transferring title deeds.
And, with more people constructing their rentals on agricultural areas, many do not want to proceed down a road that requires the lengthy process of changing the use of land.
“Apart from the fact that many will want to continue enjoying collecting rent, it is a lengthy process to obtain the sectional plans, and for many, cumbersome too,” he says.
“They have to go through a whole process of surveying again, and they also have to cede their title, which few are willing to do.”
The Sectional Properties Act applies only to land held on freehold title or on a leasehold title with an unexpired term of more than 21 years and an intention to convey ownership.
A building is subdivided into units, and then a sectional plan created by a surveyor is registered. The sectional plan is acquired from a county government-approved building plan.
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Each unit owner has a title to the land they own. They then share common property, such as stairs, swimming pools, parking lots, and backyards, as well as spaces shared by unit owners or owned by tenants in common.
"Such vertical building maximizes available land and allows more individuals to buy real estate." As a result, it is advantageous in jurisdictions with high land value and high population density. It would help Kenya's affordable housing project," said Ibrahim Mwathane, a surveying and land information management professional.
Mr Ibrahim Mwathane said the repealed Act aligned “the framework to the current Constitution and the new land laws”.
“For instance, references to local authorities as approving entities, and the repealed Registered Land Act on which the 1987 Act pegged registration, have been changed. Approvals are now to be done by county governments, and registration will be affected under the Land Registration Act, 2012,” Mwathane wrote in his blog.
Among other things, the statute reduced the unexpired leasehold period of the title from 45 years or more for sectional plans to be registrable to 21 years.
However, responsible players have found it difficult to carry out the mandate since those who should be at the forefront of its execution are frequently lacking in expertise.
“We may have laws and regulations, but often, we lack institutional capacity,” Mwathane said.