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Why it may take longer to obtain a sectional title in an apartment building

Why it may take longer to obtain a sectional title in an apartment building

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.

ALSO READ: Types
of Title deeds in Kenya and how to obtain them.

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
.

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full story here

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