search report form
Article 4.0, Part (i)... every person has the right, either individually or in association with others, to acquire and own property (a) of any description; and (b) in any part of Kenya. 
- Constitution of Kenya.

Due diligence as relates to real estate transactions, is the process of gathering relevant and authentic information about the prospective property and primarily involves one’s confirmation of the current and historic ownership, size, dimensions and encumbrance status of the property. People often fear investing in property because of the many horror stories they have seen, heard or read about. Doing your due diligence exhaustively, will save you from those bad experiences and losses.

Consider these steps and legal structures when doing your due diligence:-

Step 1: Land scouting 
  • Being crystal clear about your goals and the specific purpose for your investment, take time to scout for the land with someone you trust and that has the competence to advise you on its merits and/or demerits.
  • Once the suitable land has been identified, meet with the registered owner(s) and no one else. Along with the original and certified copies of the property’s title deed, be sure to request them for their primary personal identification documents like their National I.D card, company registration certificate (if the registered owner is a company) and Kenya Revenue Authority P.I.N. Certificate. If you are provided only copies, ensure that they are certified copies.
  • Interview the neighbours to confirm the ownership of the land, especially in the rural parts of Kenya where absentee land ownership is common. This could allow you to learn details about the ancestry and history of the of land’s owners, which a formal land search report from the Ministry of Lands registry cannot give you. It is not advisable to invest in land that is encumbered by unresolved disputes between its owners and/or between its owners and their neighbours.
  • Be wary or cautious of offers from land sellers who ask for less than what the land is worth. Engage a professional, licensed valuer or a real estate agent who understands the area to advise you.
Step 2: Do a land search

A land search will reveal the following;

  1. The current registered owner(s) of a property and the duration of their ownership. 
  2. The current encumbrance(s) against the title deed, like bank loans, court judgements or “cautions” by any interested parties.

Fill in the Search Application form and submit it to the relevant registrar of lands office, together with

  • A copy of the title deed (preferably a certified copy) to the prospective property.
  • A copy of your ID.
  • A copy of your KRA PIN certificate.

Once processed, the registry will issue you the search report, detailing the status of the title in question.

If unable to conduct the land search yourself, hire a licensed advocate of the High Court of Kenya. Be sure to confirm the validity of their current practise license with the Law Society of Kenya, as each advocate must make annual renewals of their license to practice law within the Republic of Kenya.

Mt. Kilimanjaro
Picture of Mt. Kilimanjaro from our Imbuko property. Would you like to own the view?
Step 3: Obtain a certified copy of the green-card

After you have obtained an official search report, make a formal request for a certified copy of the “Green-card” to the prospective property. We have found that it is much easier to have your licensed advocate make this formal request by letter, to the relevant Ministry of Lands registrar along with paying the prescribed fee (typically Kshs.2,500/-) to the Ministry of Lands’ cash office at the registry. The green-card is a literal green leaf of manilla-card (in most cases) that sits in the property’s file at the Ministry of Lands’ registry. It is the main document of reference by the Ministry’s officers when producing the search report that you initially applied for.

About the green card 

The green-card is a document that holds all the original records of all transactions relating to a piece of land. It is what is used to produce the title deed. It’s the most important document for verifying the ownership of a piece of land. A title deed has to match the information written on that card, if it does not, then it is not a legal title and can/will be revoked. Ensure you get a certified copy of the green-card from the registry each time you do a search. It verifies the information on the search matches what is on the green-card.

One of the common ways fake owners con people in the marketplace is by colluding with the officers in the lands registry. For example, when you want to buy a piece of land, the fake owner shows you the land. He then tells the registry clerk that when such a person comes to do a search, let the search report show that I am the real owner. 

Even though the search report and the certified copy of the green-card can be requisitioned simultaneously, we recommend that one obtains the search report first. In this way, one can investigate further or pull out of the process, should the search report provided initially, have any discrepancies when compared to the details contained on the certified copy of the green-card obtained afterwards. Because the search report details the record on the green-card, requisitioning the search report first simply ensures independently accurate representations by the Ministry’s officials on both documents, which would be a strong endorsement of the true status of the prospective property.

Thank you for reading. That is all for today, come back next week for the rest of the steps to complete your due diligence process. Until then, have a blessed week and Merry Christmas!

Our Value Proposition:
As a Kenyan real estate investment and trading company serving investors since 2012, we endeavour to make savvy and strategic investments in pre-developed raw land in specific regions of Kenya. Unlike property agents or brokers, we only sell land that we wholly own, thereby ensuring the safe and accountable passage of real property and wealth to our valued customers.

We provide our customers with consistently robust, short and medium-term capital and equity gains, created by the upsurge in property values which are driven by an increase in demand due to the developments.

We at Goshen Acquisitions are guided by an unwavering belief that the legal integrity of our transactions must be founded on irreproachable moral integrity. We have no tolerance for corruption and take no shortcuts in the due processes necessary for your secure land ownership.

Goshen Acquisitions Ltd. 

#OwnLandInKenya #TheLawOfTheLand #GoshenAcquisitionsLTD #GrandAcresLTD #LiveTheExperience

28 Responses, add yours!

  1. Hello there, hope this finds you well I have few questions please help
    1 The copy of the green card i was given by the registrar should the names of the people who owned it before be hand written?
    2 what does it mean when the phrase ‘Tittle deed’ is indicated on the green card sheet?

  2. I have gone through the analysis of what is green card in relation to land ownership and title deed.
    i have learned the green card marks all transactions that have taken place until he current title deed transfer. That the green card contains the record of all transactions dating from the date of the parcel of land first registration to the date of search by the intending purchaser of the parcel of land.

  3. I wanted to buy a piece of land and after the search at the registry I was told that the titles have no green card. How do I obtain the green card?

    • You need your Advocate to write a letter and make an official request.
      They must be a Licensed Advocate of the High Court of Kenya.
      Preferably one well-versed in conveyancing law.

    • This is heavily dependent on the person doing the work to verify the information. Search reports for titles are usually out in an average of 3 to 5 days. Other than that, the time the surveyor you hire will take to verify the location and size of plot is dependent on your instruction.

  4. How will one get agreen card when their parents died when they were young and haven’t been transferred to their names

    • Ad advocate has to assist you with this. Only a licensed Advocate of the High Court can obtain a copy of the Greencard on behalf of a client. The title does not have to be in your name.

  5. How can one get green card of a land in a case where the sons sold the land and the title still reads their late fathers names and the only agreement you made with the son when buying the land is agreement form and the witnesses,how can such person get green card

    • Hello Cherotich! Thank you for your question. To get a copy of the Greencard you will need a licensed advocate of the High Court of Kenya to write a formal request and submit it to the relevant office for your region, together with a copy of the title. How the land was sold is not a factor.

      Also, it is not advisable to sell the land before it goes through the succession process. We strongly advise that you should consult with a licenced advocate of the High Court of Kenya for your case.

  6. What is the procedure of getting a new green card in an event that the land office misplaced the original one. And who should be held accountable for the lost green card

    • Hi! Am waiting for a response to your query. I also bought a plot that was among several that had been subdivided. All the other buyers got their green cards but mine is missing. Could there be some mischief.

    • This is the responsibility of the lands department. While it is their responsibility, the circumstances surrounding the lack of a green card determines the way forward. For instance, in case of fraud/foul play, one may need to go through the courts. However, if a simple misplacement, a request to the respective registry should suffice to establish the basis of the loss or have the green card in place. 

    • A caution can not be registered without sufficient evidence. The request has to be approved and for that the registrar has to review the evidence presented. A search will note the caution and the person that requested it.

    • You would need to follow up at the registry to confirm if the title transfer was properly effected. It could be an error or actual bad games by the people involved in the transfer.

  7. Are Greencards now available for land in Nairobi cos someone told me they are not because they are being Digitized.

    • Generally, there are no greencards for Nairobi as the titles are under a different regime, the RTA (Registration of Titles Act), onto which transactions are entered one after the other from the point of title issuance

    • It could be an anomaly to the mutation or previous subdivision or even double registration. Best to check with the surveyor that did the subdivision.

      It is highly unusual. We also strongly suggest getting advised by legal counsel and the Registrar themselves.

  8. What if the green card is lost? Or if the search does not produce the desired results?

    • Hello Peter!
      Thank you for your question.
      If this is for a property you are looking to buy it would be prudent not to proceed any further till those issues are resolved. Or perhaps find another independent verification method like the Registry Index Map for that area. A licensed advocate of the High Court of Kenya would be best placed to advise. We strongly suggest you consult one before proceeding any further.

      On the other hand, if this is for your own property, you will need to follow up with the registry to confirm the details using your signed transfer forms. Again, we strongly suggest you consult with a licensed advocate of the High Court of Kenya.

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