Replacement of Lost or Destroyed Title to Land in Kenya
Replacement of Lost or Destroyed Title to Land in Kenya
A title document is a crucial piece of evidence that demonstrates the right to ownership of property or land. Given its importance, the loss, destruction, or misplacement of such a document can pose significant challenges.
Recognizing this potential issue, lawmakers in Kenya have established a law and procedure for replacing lost titles.
As per Section 33 (1) of the Land Registration Act, 2012, if a certificate of title or certificate of lease is lost or destroyed, the proprietor can apply to the Registrar for a replacement certificate, provided they can produce evidence to confirm the loss or destruction of the previous certificate
Procedure for Replacing a Lost Title Deed
The following steps outline the procedure to be undertaken by a person seeking to replace a lost title deed:
Police Abstract: The loss or destruction of a title must be reported to the nearest police station as per section 33 (1) of the Land Registration Act, 2012. The police will issue an abstract indicating that the title is lost.
To obtain this abstract, the registered proprietor must present a copy of the title or the title number and their original identity card/passport. Alternatively, the police abstract can be downloaded from the National Police Service website, printed, and then presented to the nearest station for stamping
Land Registry Search: The law mandates an official search to be conducted to prove the legal ownership of the land/property whose title has been lost, misplaced, or destroyed. This is done through an application to the relevant land registry for an official search
Statutory Declaration: The registered proprietor is required to swear a statutory declaration explaining the circumstances under which the title was misplaced, destroyed, or lost.
In the case of a company, the director, where property has been charged, the chargee that the certificate of title or a certificate of lease has been lost or destroyed
Application for the Title: The registered proprietor must apply to the Lands registry for the issuance of a replacement title. This is done by filling an application form known as The Application for Replacement certificate of Title/Lease on Loss/ Destruction of a Previous Title.
The application must be accompanied by several documents, including the Police Abstract, certified copies of National Identity Card/Passport of the registered Proprietor(s), and an official search in respect of the Property and/or any other document showing proof of ownership of the Property
Registration of a Caution: To protect against illegal dealings or transactions on the land whose property is lost, the law recommends that a caution be registered by the legal owner during the application for replacement and before the issuance of the title
Publication in the Kenya Gazette and Local Dailies: The registrar will verify the loss of the title and cause publication of the name of the person whose title has been lost in the Kenya Gazette and at least two local dailies with nationwide circulation. This publication gives a sixty (60) days’ notice about the loss of the title, allowing anyone with a claim or objection to the issuance of that Title Deed to take action
Confirmation and Issuance of Duplicate of the Title: After the lapse of 60 days, the registrar will verify and confirm that the process was duly followed. If satisfied with the evidence proving the destruction or loss of the certificate of title or certificate of lease, a provisional certificate of title or certificate of lease may be issued.
Thereafter, the Land Registrar enters the relevant entries into the relevant cards and issues a replacement of the Title Deed
Summary Procedure for Replacing Lost Titles
The procedure for replacing a lost title deed in Kenya includes:
- The registered proprietor must report the loss or destruction of the title at the nearest police station. An abstract will be issued indicating the title is lost.
- To obtain the abstract, the registered proprietor must provide a copy of the title or title number and original ID/passport.
- Alternatively, the abstract can be downloaded from the National Police Service website, printed, and stamped at the nearest police station.
Search at the Land Registry
- The law requires an official search to prove legal ownership of the land or property with the lost title. This is done by applying to the relevant land registry for an official search.
- The registered proprietor must swear a statutory declaration explaining how the title was lost or destroyed.
- For registered companies, the director and any chargee must also swear the statutory declaration.
Application for Replacement Title
- The proprietor applies to the Lands Registry using the form “Application for Replacement of Title/Lease on Loss/Destruction of Previous Title”.
- The application must be accompanied by:
- The Police Abstract
- Certified copies of ID/Passport of the registered proprietor(s)
- For companies, certified registration documents and copies of directors’ IDs
- Colored passport photos of the individual proprietor(s) or statutory declarants
- For companies, a certified resolution authorizing the application
- An official search showing ownership of the property
- To prevent illegal dealings during the replacement process, the legal owner should register a caution.
- The Registrar must verify the loss and give 60 days’ public notice in the Gazette and newspapers about the replacement.
- This allows anyone with objections to take action. The proprietor pays the prescribed fee.
Issuing Duplicate Title
- After 60 days, the Registrar verifies due process was followed.
- The Registrar then issues a provisional replacement title, makes entries in the land registry cards, and issues the final replacement title deed.
- If the lost title is found, it must be surrendered to the Registrar for cancellation.
Replacing a lost title is important for property owners to fully benefit from land ownership. The procedure aims to balance the rights of the registered proprietor and interested third parties.