How to Know a Fake Title Deed in Kenya

How to Know a Fake Title Deed in Kenya

How to Know a Fake Title Deed in Kenya

In Kenya, land ownership is a significant investment, and the title deed is the legal document that proves this ownership.

A title deed is a legal document that proves ownership of a piece of land or property. Unfortunately, fraudsters have found ways to forge these documents, leading to numerous cases of land fraud.

The real estate sector has been plagued by fraudulent activities, including the circulation of fake title deeds. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to identify a fake title deed in Kenya.

1. Verify the Signatures and Seals

One of the first steps in identifying a fake title deed is to verify the signatures and seals on the document. A certified conveyance advocate who has been in the industry for a while might be able to detect a fake title by studying the materials used, as well as the entries, signatures, and seals

It is crucial to verify that the Register of Deeds who signed and issued the title was indeed the legitimate officeholder at the time of issuance

2. Check the Property Description Consistency

The property description on the title deed should be consistent with the actual property. Any inconsistencies in this regard should be treated as a serious concern

3. Use Online Platforms for Verification

In Kenya, you can now check your title deed details online thanks to platforms like Ardhisasa and e-citizen. You will simply sign up to the platforms and submit your details for verification

4. Conduct a Title Deed Search

A title deed search is a crucial step in verifying the authenticity of a title deed. This involves conducting a search at the relevant lands office to confirm the details and particulars of the title

Companies like RVS Kenya provide services such as title deed verification, previous owner verifications, and property status checks

When you conduct a search at the relevant lands office, the details and particulars of the title should match those on the title deed. In some instances, corrupt land officials may work in cahoots with conmen, and a file for the land may have been opened at the lands office.

A simple search at the ministry will show the land as being in existence, and in many cases, it is only when the government comes to reclaim the land that it becomes evident that the title issued was fake

5. Check for Matching Digits

Pay close attention to the last two digits of the title number. These digits should correspond with the last two digits of the page number located at the top right section of the title. Such consistency in numbering is a key indicator of a legitimate title deed

6. Beware of Fraudulent Practices

Fraudsters often use stolen identities or forged documents to transfer a registered owner’s title to themselves or to someone else without the registered owner’s knowledge

In some instances, corrupt land officials work in cahoots with the conmen, making it even more difficult to identify a fake title

7. Seek Legal Help

If you suspect that you are holding a fake title, the first action should be to seek legal help. In scam cases, a title deed acquired fraudulently can be revoked upon proof by the victim. A court order is usually issued to the relevant Land Registrar to rectify the situation.

Engage the services of professionals such as surveyors, lawyers, and real estate agents who are experienced in land matters. They can help you conduct due diligence and verify the authenticity of the title deed

8. Be Wary of Red Flags

If you notice development or activity on your land without your consent or if you haven’t consistently received electricity or water bills, someone may have changed your land. These are red flags related to title deed fraud

9. Check the Paper Material

The quality of the paper used for the title deed can also be a giveaway. Genuine title deeds are printed on a specific type of paper that is not easily accessible to the public

10. Work with Established Real Estate Companies

Working with established real estate companies can help you avoid title deed fraud. These companies have the expertise and experience to guide you through the process of acquiring a genuine title deed

In conclusion, identifying a fake title deed in Kenya requires a keen eye, due diligence, and sometimes, the help of professionals. It is always advisable to take your time and verify all the details before making any land transactions.

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