Sectional Title Deeds in Kenya: A Game-Changer in Kenyan Real Estate

Understanding Sectional Title Deeds

In the dynamic landscape of Kenyan real estate, the concept of Sectional Title Deeds has emerged as a pivotal legal instrument, particularly in the realm of apartment ownership. But what exactly is a sectional title deed, and how has recent legislation transformed the ownership dynamics for apartment owners in Kenya?

Unveiling the Sectional Title Deed

A sectional title deed is a legal document that bestows ownership rights to an individual unit within a larger property development. This can range from an apartment building to a townhouse complex. The uniqueness of this type of ownership lies in its prevalence within shared property developments housing multiple units.

Each owner of a unit receives a title deed that delineates not only their ownership rights to their specific unit but also their shared ownership of common areas and facilities within the larger property. The law allows for the issuance of apartment title deeds.

Legislative Evolution: Sectional Properties Act of 2020

The legal landscape underwent a transformative shift with the enactment of the Sectional Properties Act of 2020 on December 11, 2020. This legislation empowered Kenyan apartment owners to obtain sectional title deeds, marking a significant departure from previous norms.

Nuts and Bolts: How Sectional Title Deeds Work

The establishment of a sectional title deed involves a meticulous process. A surveyor plays a pivotal role by utilizing house coordinates to create a unique identifier, serving as the title number for each unit. The boundaries of sectional units are defined by referencing floors, walls, and ceilings.

Key components, such as load-bearing walls, dictate interior finishing materials, encompassing aspects like plaster, paneling, or flooring. Doors and windows are typically considered part of a unit, unless specified otherwise in the sectional plan.

The legislation mandates that submitted sectional plans adhere to geo-referencing, including parcel numbers, unit numbers, and approximate floor areas. Each unit’s proprietor must sign and seal the plan, with the Director of Surveys confirming the designated user.

Revolutionary Provisions of the Act

The Sectional Properties Act of 2020 ushered in revolutionary provisions that reshaped the real estate landscape:

  1. Preventing Misleading Practices: Developers are now prohibited from constructing additional units on plots where blocks of apartments have already been sold, curbing misleading practices.
  2. Title Deeds for Common Property: The Act introduces the issuance of title deeds for common property, jointly owned by individual unit owners. Homeowners receive certificates outlining their share in the common property, ensuring it cannot be sold without consent.
  3. Regulation of Apartment Plans: Developers are mandated to register apartment plans for each housing unit, aligning existing structures with approved building plans.

Empowering Apartment Owners

The newfound ability for apartment unit owners to use their sectional titles as collateral for loans marks a substantial shift. This simplifies transactions and ownership documentation, providing a layer of financial flexibility that was previously unavailable.

In the past, the inability of apartment owners to acquire title deeds left them vulnerable to fraud and property loss. Developers retained original titles even after selling units, often leading to legal complications, especially when developers built on land titled by money lending entities.

In conclusion, the adoption of sectional title deeds is a game-changer in Kenya’s real estate narrative. It not only empowers individual unit owners but also introduces a level of transparency and regulation that fortifies the sector against malpractices. As the legal framework continues to evolve, the future holds exciting prospects for apartment owners and the broader real estate community in Kenya.