When To Apply For Change Of Use In Kenya

When To Apply For Change Of Use In Kenya

When To Apply For Change Of Use In Kenya

You should apply for a change of use when there is a proposed change in the use of a building or space. This could involve a project initiation that involves an extensive remodel or may require no physical changes at all.

However, a city’s Building Code requires that any time there is a proposed change in the use of a building or space, a permit must be obtained.

A change of use occurs when there is any change in the occupancy of a building that could trigger a change in the code requirements that apply to the site. This could be a change to a completely different use than that which previously occupied the building, or a change in use within the same occupancy classification, but at a different occupancy level.

The application process for a change-of-use permit is relatively straightforward. It involves applying and paying, submitting the necessary plans, a comprehensive plan review, paying outstanding fees, issuing the permit, construction/inspections, permit revision, and final inspections and approval.

The timeline for this process can vary depending on many factors such as the complexity of the project, the type of change being implemented, and the organization’s culture.

The process for applying for a change of use of land or property in Kenya involves several steps:

  • Application submission – The landowner needs to submit an application to the county government, including plans and details on the proposed change of use. This is usually done through a physical planner.
  • Public notification – The county will require the applicant to publish a notice in the newspaper and put up signs on the property, notifying the public of the intent to change the land use.
  • Review and approval – The county physical planning department will review the application and may request additional information. If approved, they will issue a change of user approval document.
  • Development application – Once change of use is approved, the landowner can then apply for development permission based on the new land use zoning.

The timing to submit an application for change of use depends on when the landowner wishes to carry out development based on the new use. It’s advisable to apply approximately 2-3 months in advance of needing the development approval, as the change of use process can take some time.

How Long Does Change Of Use Approval Take In Kenya?

A typical change of use approval timeline ranges from 1-6 months in Kenya, but can take longer for more complex proposals and the county govenment. Delays can occur if the county asks for more information or revisions to the proposal.

The process also depends on the applicant submitting complete information and following up diligently.

To help expedite the process, it’s advisable to use a registered physical planner to prepare the change of use application and follow up with county officials regularly. Engaging local community leaders early also helps avoid objections that could delay gazettment.

The time it takes to get change of use approval in Kenya can vary depending on the location and specific details of the application. Here are some estimates:

  • County review and approval – This can take 1-3 months in most counties. Nairobi county may take longer at 2-6 months.
  • Public notification period – The required public notification process takes around 30 days.
  • Gazettment – Once approved by the county, gazettment of the approval can take 2-4 weeks.
  • Overall – For a straightforward application, the total process may take 3-5 months. More complex applications can take 6 months or longer.

Change Of Use From Agricultural To Residential Kenya

Changing agricultural land to residential use involves extensive planning, preparation and coordination with government departments before actual development can proceed. Proper feasibility studies are key.

Here are some key points about changing the use of land from agricultural to residential in Kenya:

  • Zoning laws – The land needs to be zoned for residential use or have its zoning changed from agricultural to residential. This requires approval from the relevant county government.
  • Application process – A change of use application needs to be made to the county physical planning department. This includes submission of survey plans, title deeds, and details of the development proposed.
  • Public notification – The applicant has to publish a notice of intent to change the land use and put up signs on site as part of the process.
  • Development plans – For residential developments, outline plans for the housing, access roads, amenities etc. need to be prepared and approved.
  • Infrastructure – The provision of infrastructure like access roads, water and electricity has to be planned and budgeted for.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) – An EIA may be required depending on the size of the development.
  • Timeline – The overall process including surveys, approvals, planning and infrastructure installation can take 1-3 years.
  • Costs – The developer will incur costs for survey, design, approvals, land servicing and construction. Chang of use fees are also applicable.

Documents Required For Change Of Use Application

The specific requirements may vary by county. It is advisable to check with the county lands office for the exact requirements before submitting the change of use application. Having all the necessary documents helps expedite the approval process.

Here are some of the key documents typically required when submitting a change of use application in Kenya:

  • Application letter – This should be addressed to the County Physical Planning Department requesting the change of use.
  • Title deed/lease – A certified copy of the land ownership document.
  • Survey plan – A recent survey plan of the property prepared by a registered surveyor.
  • Site plans – Existing site plan and proposed site development plan showing new structures/layout.
  • Application forms – Completed PPA1 forms signed by a registered physical planner.
  • EIA report – Environmental Impact Assessment for large developments.
  • Infrastructure plans – Proposals for access roads, water supply, drainage, power etc.
  • Notices – Draft public notices to be published in newspapers and on site.
  • List of adjoining owners – Names and contacts for notification purposes.
  • Application fee – Bank deposit slip as proof of payment.
  • Agency letters – Any letters of approval from organizations like NEMA, roads authority etc.
  • Passport photos – Of the applicant and physical planner.


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