Step by step guide on how to apply for a title deed in Kenya

Step by step guide on how to apply for a title deed in Kenya

All applications for land title deeds and transfer of ownership are done with the help of a lawyer. Kenya has 47 counties and each county has a different land rates details. Some of the steps of acquiring a land title deed can be done on-line while others are done in person. The steps of acquiring a land title deed are as follows.

Step 1:Obtain Official land search
This stage is very important as it shows if someone else owns the land or if the land has been registered before.

  1. Apply In-Person:
    • This is done at the ministry of lands and physical planning headquarters or in any of their Land Offices in local district/ Sub County. One is required to pay a fee of Ksh 500 for the search; submit a duly filled search application (form RL 26) and attach the copy title document. The land search at Lands office takes an average of 3 days.
    • After the search one is issued with a stamped Certificate of Official search (form RL 27) showing the status of the land.
    • Required documents
    1. Duly filled Application for Official search (Form RL 26) Form RL 26
    2. Proof of land ownership
    3. PIN certificate (copy)
    4. Identity card (copy) for the applicant if Kenyan.
    5. Foreign national registration certificate- alien card (copy) For foreigners who are residents in Kenya
    6. Passport (copy) for the applicant if a non-citizen.
  2. Apply On-line
How to do an online land search in Kenya
  1. Log onto the e-citizen portal E-Citizen and sign up 
  2. Click on Ministry of Land, Housing & Urban Development link and choose the land search option 
  3. Enter the title number and fill the online land search form Kenya and submit
  4. Confirm the details and proceed to pay using the available payment method which can be a debit card, credit card, M-Pesa, or bank transfers. One is required to pay a fee of Ksh 500 for the search
  5. Once the payment is confirmed, the applicant can proceed to print the results, and if you choose not to, the information will always be available on the portal anytime you log in. 

Step 2.Obtain land transfer documents
This step involves contacting a lawyer to facilitate obtaining and notarising the land transfer documents. The steps are as follows 

  • Apply, pay and obtain rates clearance certificate from the County Government.
This is done by the seller’s lawyer through consulting the local county government lands office. The whole process can take five days at the cost of Ksh. 10,000. This certificate proves that there are no outstanding fees to be paid at the City County’s office. Lawyer’s fees are calculated according to the value of the land.
Upon payment of all outstanding Land Rates at the Local County Governments and upon an application and payment of the prescribed fees. The respective County Governments shall issue a Land Rates clearance certificate.
  • Apply and Obtain Land Rent Clearance Certificate from the Commissioner of Lands
Upon payment of outstanding Land rent and on application, the commissioner of lands issues a Land rent clearance certificate. This certificate is proof that there are no outstanding fees to be paid to the County Government
  • Apply and Obtain Consent to transfer from commissioner of Lands
The consent to transfer leasehold land held by the government under the repealed Act is required to be obtained from the National Land Commission. Upon payment and issuance of Both Land rent certificate and Land rate certificate, an application is made in writing by the lawyer to the commissioner of lands and the prescribed form executed for consent to transfer the desired property. Upon payment of the prescribed amount, consent to transfer is issued. This process takes nine days at the cost of Ksh. 1,000.
  • File the transfer instrument at the Lands Office for assessment of stamp duty payable on the transfer
The draft transfer is done by the buyer’s lawyer and the transfer instrument has to be approved by the seller’s counterpart before it’s filled at the land’s office to be assessed for Stamp Duty. After the lawyers approval the instrument is submitted for assessment of stamp duty at the Lands registry .The stamp duty is 4% of property value for urban lands and 2% for rural lands. The stamp duty amount to be paid is indicated when the application is filed, but it takes approximately 7 days to obtain the receipt of payment (obligated to pay with a banker’s check) from the bank. The payment is made directly at the Lands Office.

Step 3.Obtain valuation for stamp duty

  • Receive inspection by land officer
Once the draft transfer has been filed at the land office, an inspector visits the site to verify the development and state of the property. Due to lack of transport, in practice, the inspector often has to be picked up in-person and driven to the site. There are no prior appointments made and the actual inspection may happen within one day or, in the worst case, one month. However, note that this time is not limited and in some cases entrepreneurs may wait months for a valuation. Once the evaluator has inspected the property, a report is compiled which the value is endorsed on the transfer.
  • Obtain valuation of the property by Government evaluator
The inspector visits the site to evaluate and verify the indicated purchase price of the property in order to ensure accurate tax payment. If the assessed value differs from the one indicated by the parties, an additional payment is requested.

Step 4.Stamp duty payment

  • Endorsement of value for Stamp Duty and assessment of Stamp Duty
Complete the Stamp Duty from including the purchase price. The stamp duty assessment officer will then assess the stamp duty payable and indicate the amount on the forms. This takes three days.
  • Payment of Stamp Duty
It is mandatory to pay the stamp duty with a banker’s check. The payment is made through commercial banks and the approved banks include the Kenya Commercial Bank and The National Bank of Kenya. Payment is made to the Commissioner of Domestic Taxes on behalf of the Commissioner of Lands. It takes four days for the Kenya Revenue Authority to confirm receipt of payment.
This Stamp Duty is payable online via the KRA Itax portal
  • Submission of the documents for franking/ obtaining franked documents
After payment of stamp duty, the transfer documents are submitted for franking to confirm that any charges or taxes, such as the stamp duty on those documents have been paid.

Step 5.Land Registration

  • Pay registration fees
A payment of Ksh 500 charged and one issued with a booking form to fill.
  • Lodge the completion documents with Lands Office for registration of the transfer
The franked transfer documents are lodged for registration at the Lands Office. The seller’s lawyer obtains these documents which include; original certificate of Title, Rates Clearance Certificate, Land Rent Clearance Certificate and the consent transfer. This process takes 12 days.

  • Duly filled booking form
  • Consent to transfer land (copy)
  • Official land search (original)
  • Land rates clearance receipt (copy)
  • Land rent certificate (copy)
  • Transfer instrument (3 original + copy)
  • Identity card (copy) 
  • PIN certificate (copy)

This process takes two weeks and Ksh. 5,000 is charged to obtain process a new title deed certificate.

After a successful registration you will receive the following document

  • An original title deed with the name of the buyer
  • Registered transfer forms
  • The pay in slip of stamp duty
  • Post purchase activity
After a week or two, you as the buyer should do another search with the ministry of Lands to confirm that the land is now under your name.

Required Documents

  • Duly filled Application for Official search Form RL 26
  • Proof of land ownership 
  • PIN certificate (copy)
  • Identity card (copy) for the applicant if Kenyan.
  • Foreign national registration certificate- alien card (copy) For foreigners who are residents in Kenya
  • Passport (copy) for the applicant if a non-citizen.
  • Duly filled booking form
  • Consent to transfer land (copy)
  • Official land search (original)
  • Land rates clearance receipt (copy)
  • Land rent certificate (copy)
  • Transfer instrument (3 original + copy)

Office Locations & Contacts

1ST Ngong Avenue 
P.O. Box 30450,
Tel: +254 202 718 050 



  • A Kenyan citizen may hold land on either a freehold or leasehold basis
  • A person who is not a citizen of Kenya. However they may only hold land on basis of leasehold tenure only, and any such lease, however, granted, shall not exceed ninety-nine years.


  • A fee of Ksh 500 is paid for the official land search 
  • The fee of obtaining a land rates clearance certificate varies between counties. Ksh 10,000 is charged in Nairobi County for a land rate clearance certificate.
  • A fee of Ksh1000 is charged for Consent to Transfer from the commissioner of Lands.
  • A stamp duty is 4% of property value for urban lands and 2% for rural lands is payable.
  • Ksh 500 is charged for registration of transfers
  • Ksh. 5,000 is charged to obtain process a new title deed certificate.


The validity of holding a Kenyan title deed depends on the land tenure it is under. This is the right or period of holding land. There are two types of land tenure system in Kenya:

  • Freehold: It is the greatest interest a person can have on land as it gives the holder absolute ownership of the land for life. This means descendants can succeed the owner for as long as the family lineage exists. A freehold title deed generally has no restrictions as to the use or occupation. However, there are conditional freeholds, which restrict the use of the land, for instance, for agricultural purposes or ranching only. A freehold interest is also known as fee sample or absolute proprietorship.
  • Leasehold: This is the interest in land for a specific period subject to payment of a fee or rent to the grantor. Payment of rates is made to the respective county governments for services rendered. Leases are granted by the Government for public land, local authority for trust land and individuals with freeholds. The maximum term of government leases is 99 years.

Documents to Use

Application for Official search : Form RL 26

Sample Documents

Completed sample of certificate of official search:Form RL 27

Processing Time

  • Approximately 90 days.


It is important to go through all the processes of land Title deed acquisition when buying a piece of land. A lawyer usually is hired for this.

A summary of the application process is as follows:
A. Obtain official land search 1. Pay for land search 2. Submit an application for official land search 3. Obtain official land search 

B. Obtain land transfer documents 4. Contract an advocate 5. Submit a request for land transfer documents 6. Obtain land transfer documents 

C. Obtain valuation for stamp duty 7. Submit a request for land valuation 8. Site visit for valuation 9. Obtain valuation for stamp duty 

D. Stamp duty payment 10. Obtain payment slip 11. Payment of stamp duty 12. Submit documents for franking 13. Obtain franked documents 

E. Land registration 14. Pay registration fees 15. Submit documents for registration 16. Obtain registered documents

Required Information

  1. Name of owner/buyer
  2. Address of owner/buyer
  3. Nature of title
  4. Plot Number
  5. Approximate area.
  6. Registry map Sheet Number
  7. Title Number

Need for the Document

A Land Title Deed is a legal document showing evidence of ownership of land. In Kenya, Land Title deeds are issued by the Deeds Registry under the Ministry of Lands.

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