By Reuben Kimani, CEO, Username Investment Limited.
A title deed is a legal document constituting evidence of a right, especially to ownership of property. A title deed contains;
- The name of the existing owner as well as the previous owners.
- A detailed property description which includes size of the property.
- The Title Deed number.
This important document can get lost or damaged and many Kenyans are still unaware of how to obtain a duplicate title deed. Rogue individuals may fake your ID and KRA pin using the name written on your title to effect illegal transfer of the land or even use your title deed as a collateral to obtain a loan. Therefore, once you misplace this important document treat it with utmost urgency to prevent such illegal transactions. To address this weighty concern, below is step by step guideline to follow with The Ministry of Lands when you find yourself in such a situation.
- Report and obtain a police abstract from the nearest police station
A police abstract is available at the national police website. You only download, print and present it to the nearest police station for filling and stamping. Alternatively visit the nearest police station they already have the printed abstracts. An abstract serves the purpose of informing the government through the Kenya Police that your title deed is missing.
- Apply for a search of the lost title deed
This will involve taking a copy of your ID and KRA pin certificate to the registrar of Lands. This goes a long way in ensuring that the registry files indicate that you are the actual owner of the land.
- Place a caveat protecting your property from illegal transactions.
Seek the help of a dully registered lawyer who will help you place a formal notice to a court, judge and the Ministry of Lands opposing certain acts in reference to your title deed. These prevents any party from conducting transactions with your lost title deed.
- Filing of a statutory declaration
A lawyer will also serve you with a declaration form where you will personally provide details of how the document got lost or destroyed. A statutory declaration also contains details on when the title was lost and the search efforts put in place to find it. You will as well fill in an application form that will be attached together with the police abstract and the declaration form and present them to the Registrar of Lands for perusal.
- Publishing of your name in the Kenya Gazette
The registrar uses the declaration forms as evidence of the loss and once satisfied he/she will publish your name in the Kenya Gazette. Your name will also be published in two mainstream newspapers with national circulation. The gazette notice gives the public a 60 days’ notice about the loss of the title deed. It is of importance to note that a small fee is paid to the government printer for publishing the notice of the loss in the Kenya Gazette.
- Confirmation of whether the procedure was dully followed
After the lapse of the 60 days, the registrar will confirm whether the procedure was dully followed and upon payment of a requisite fee an approval for the issuance of a new title deed is given.
- Green card and White Card entries
The cards contain information of land activities done in the past. A green card is issued when the land is freehold (where the applicant has permanent right to hold a land) and a white card issued when the land is leasehold (where the applicant has temporal right to hold a land), the relevant entries are made by the District Land Registrar after which a replacement title deed is issued.
Finally, it’s important to note that in case the lost title is found it should be presented to the registrar for cancellation. Getting your lost title replaced is as easy as the outlined steps.