LANDS commissioner has ordered land registrars to desist from rejecting land registration documents in pretext of the new laws. Commissioner Zablon Mabea has written a circular to all registrars assuring them that transitional clauses in the new land laws allow for transactions to continue as usual. He said things will continue to operate as normal until the cabinet secretary in charge of lands docket makes the regulations to operationalise the land acts.
The new land laws- National Land Commission Act, Land Act and Land Registration Act were gazetted on May 2, 2012 after Parliament passed them. They repealed the Indian Transfer of Property Act of 1882, the Government Lands Act (cap 280), the registration of Titles Act (cap 281), the Land Titles Act (cap 282) and Registered Land Act (cap 300).
"Pursuant to the passing of the new Land Acts, questions have been raised by various stakeholders including advocates, banks, the other conveyancing practitioners on the implementation. Specifically, the issue of format of the documents/instruments to be presented for registration within the transition period before the cabinet secretary makes the regulations contemplated under section 110 is apparently not clear to many of our officers," Mabea said in his circular dated June 18, 2012.
He said section 105 of the Land Registration Act recognises the existing titles until the transition into the new land regime is effected. Mabea said numerous questions have been raised on the position of long term leases during the transition period. He said they will continue as under the previous arrangement. "Therefore note that the registration of documents/instruments in our registries shall continue pending the gazettement of the new procedures, regulations, forms and provisions which are currently underway.
Any matter that is not clear may be referred to the Chief Land registrar for clarification but you are advised to desist from rejecting documents in pretext of the new laws," the circular read. He asked all registrars to "take the initiative to read and understand" the new Acts. Yesterday, the CEO of Kenya Bankers Association Habil Olaka told the Star that uncertainty on land transactions had begun to affect the industry and Kenyans in general.
He said customers in the industry had suffered charge of interest before actual receipt of loans owing to the deadlock at lands offices. "If you cannot register the security on the title and you have already negotiated a facility(loan), the bank will not be able to disburse until the charge is registered, and the thing is stuck at the Commissioner of Lands office.
Eventually the customer will be suffering because the project will be progressing but they do not have access to the funds yet meanwhile he is incurring penalties and interest costs," Olaka said. He however said the directives from the commissioner has since saved the situation.