The land is one of the most important natural resources a person could own and use to create wealth. As a result,  control of land brings economic power which is then used as the basis for social and political power. In a country like Kenya where most of the population derives its livelihood from agriculture, the land will always be the backbone of its economy. This plays a big role in the general development of a country. It is then important to understand its process. 

In Kenya, land ownership before the colonial period was completely different from now. The land was owned communally and reigned over by customary law. No specific person owned the land and anyone could do whatever they wanted as long as it was acceptable by the community. This method created no incentives for investment hence an obstacle towards creating a  free market. \

The colonization and post-colonization period developed diverse land registration regimes in Kenya. This meant the end of the traditional land ownership method and gave birth to individual land ownership of land.

Although the process might be long, knowing the process in detail and the documents needed makes it easy and fast. This process should take a maximum of 90 days. The following are the necessary steps for land registration and some of the things that you need:

What you need

  • The original copy of valuation report
  • Both original copies of stamp duty assessment form and payment receipt
  •  Rates clearance certificate
  • National ID and PIN for all parties
  • Coloured passport size photographs of all parties
  • Clearance From commissioner of lands or land control board
  • Original title deed
  • Land Rent clearance certificate

The process

Applications for land rent clearance certificates

This is the first step of land registration which takes up to 9 days at the commissioner of lands office.  The owner of the land should obtain this certificate through his or her lawyer. During this process, proof of land ownership will be required which will include an official search.

Rates clearance certificate

This process is also done by the lawyer at the county office where the certificate is applied. This will take approximately 5 days costing you an additional 5 days. This certificate is very important since it clears them from any outstanding land rates fees to be paid to the county government. 

Note that there will be lawyer’s fees which will depend on the land’s value.

Application for search on the title

A land search costs 500 and can take up to 3 days. Your full names, your national id and the title deed number will be needed during this process. This step is very important since it shows if someone else owns the land or it has been registered  before. 

How to Conduct an Online Land Search in Kenya

The Steps

  1. Go to the eCitizen portal and sign up for an eCitizen account
  2. Select the ‘Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning’ tab from the eCitizen dashboard
  3. Choose ‘Land Search’ from the Ministry of Land portal
  4. Enter the land title number as indicated on the land title deed
  5. Fill out the ensuing online land search form
  6. Click ‘Next’ to proceed to the land search results page
  7. The land search results display the following details: –
  • History of ownership
  • Full names of the current owner
  • Approximate size of the land
  • Details on any claim on the land (surety in a legal dispute or collateral for a bank loan)
  1. Choose ‘Print Results’ to get physical copies of the land search results
  2. The search results remain available under your eCitizen account for future reference.

Applying and obtaining transfer consent

During this step, a fee of 1000 Ksh is charged for the transfer consent done at the county commissioner of lands.  This will take up to 9 days. The document must be approved by the seller’s price before it is filled for assessment of stamp duty.   A copy of the title deed, current search document and an application form will be needed during this process. 

valuation report

After obtaining the transfer consent, you will receive a site inspection by the government’s valuer.  The work of the inspector is to verify the state of the land and compile a valuation report to be signed during transfer.  The valuation report determines the value of a property based on data like amenities,location,condition , recent sales within the locality and opinion from a professional.   This may happen any day within a month. 


Assessment of stamp duty

In Kenya, stamp duty is assessed at 2% of the value of the property in the rural area and 4% of the property value in the urban areas. This will be then the tax you will be levied for the land. A stamp duty officer will assess the stamp duty payable and indicate on the forms. This takes up to 3 days. 

Stamp duty payment

After stamp assessment, you may proceed to the nearest national bank and pay the stamp duty. Carry with you a land rent demand notice and 3 copies of original stamp duty. you will then receive a receipt of payment which may take up to 4 days to confirm.


This is the final step of land registration. All the stamped documents are set for registration at the lands office. These stamped documents include an original title deed, rates clearance certificate, land rent clearance certificate and the consent transfer. This registration may take up to 12 days to finalize. After this, the land will successfully have a new owner.

The government of Kenya is in the process of digitizing most aspects with the aim of making work  easy for its service provision. The process will now be easier since you will be able to do most of the steps online.  This means that there will be a new process that will be fast and easy.