How Do I Check If A Land Title Is Genuine?

How Do I Check If A Land Title Is Genuine?

How Do I Check If A Land Title Is Genuine?

How to Check if a Land Title is Genuine in Kenya

Purchasing land in Kenya requires conducting thorough due diligence to ensure the land title presented by the seller is genuine and legitimate.

Here are some tips for verifying land title authenticity:

Examine the Title Deed

Scrutinize the title deed carefully. Check for key features like the official government stamp, watermarks, signatures of the Registrar of Lands, and serial numbers. Also ensure the font and text alignment looks original and not edited.

Search Records at the Ministry of Lands

Visit the Ministry of Lands office and request an official search of the land records using the title number.

This search will reveal the registered owner, acreage, location, encumbrances and any other interests on the land. Insist on seeing the original records book to compare with the title deed presented.

Visit the Land

Physically visit the land and ensure it matches the details contained in the title deed. Check the size, boundaries, location description and any unique physical features. Also, talk to the neighbors to gather any information on the land.

Search Records at the Ministry of Lands

Visit the Ministry of Lands office and request an official search of the land records using the title number.

This search will reveal the registered owner, acreage, location, encumbrances and any other interests on the land. Insist on seeing the original records book to compare with the title deed details.

Verify Ownership History

Trace back ownership of the land for at least the last 15 years. Obtain copies of previous title deeds and transfers to establish a clean chain of custody devoid of irregularities.

Check Approvals and Stamps

Closely examine the title for important stamps like land rent paid, rates clearance, government valuers stamp and stamp duty paid. Check that crucial approvals like land control board consent are indicated.

Verify Approvals and Transfers

Check that the land has proper government approval for the intended use. Also verify any previous transfers were properly registered with the Ministry of Lands by requesting to see transfer records.

Engage Professionals

Hire a lawyer to review the title deed and highlight any irregularities. A surveyor can also do an independent verification of the land boundaries and size.

Hire a lawyer to review the title deed and highlight any defects. Engage a surveyor to verify size and boundaries on the ground. Let a valuer conduct valuation to check for overpricing.

Check for Multiple Allotments

Unscrupulous officials have been known to issue multiple title deeds for the same land to different buyers. Conducting a search will help uncover such cases of double allocation.

Visit the Land

Physically trace the land boundaries and inspect the ground features. Interview neighbors to find out if they recognize the land and owner.

Search Owner’s Details

Verify the seller’s ID number, PIN certificate and official government records like KRA. Check for inconsistencies indicating potential fraud.

Ensure the seller’s national ID or passport matches the name indicated as the registered owner on the title deed. The IDs should also match the details provided during the Ministry of Lands search.

Check for Disputes

Follow up with local elders and administrators to confirm whether the land has any known disputes, succession cases or double allocations.

Beware of Common Frauds

Scrutinize the title carefully for common tricks like use of scanned signatures instead of originals, altered acreage, fake government stamps and edited content.

Insist on Original Documents

Always demand to see original documents, not just photocopies which can be edited. Handle documents yourself and note features to distinguish originals.

Beware of Scams

Exercise caution when dealing with sellers who rush the transaction or only provide photocopies of documents. Also beware of prices that are substantially lower than prevailing market rates.

Confirm Charges and Disputes

Check if the land has any encumbrances, cautions or disputes by reviewing the land rent payment records and court records. The Ministry of Lands search should highlight any charges, liens or encumbrances.

Conclusion

Conducting thorough due diligence by engaging professionals, comparing ground features and scrutinizing documents helps reveal any defects in the title deed.

Do not rely solely on sellers word or copies of documents which can be forged. Insist on verifying original land records and the site physically to avoid fraud.

 

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