The 7 Steps of Land Subdivision in Kenya

What is a Land Subdivision?

Land subdivision is the process of dividing a single parcel of land into two or more smaller parcels. This process is governed by legal and regulatory frameworks to ensure that the resulting parcels comply with land use planning, zoning laws, and environmental considerations. Subdividing land can enhance its utility and value, making it easier to sell, develop, or distribute.

7  Steps of Land Subdivision in Kenya

Here are the steps:

1. Conducting a Title Deed Search

The initial step for a landowner wishing to subdivide their land is to perform an official title deed search at the local land registry. This process, which typically takes three days, requires the landowner to provide:

  • A copy of their national identity card.
  • A copy of their KRA PIN card.
  • A copy of the title deed or its number.

The title deed search is crucial as it confirms ownership of the land and reveals any existing encumbrances.

2. Obtaining a Registry Index Map (RIM)

Following the title deed search, the landowner, with the help of a surveyor, must obtain a Registry Index Map (RIM) from the Survey of Kenya. The RIM is a detailed map covering the geographic area where the land to be subdivided is located. The surveyor visits the land to take ground measurements, ensuring they match the RIM.

3. Preparation of Subdivision Scheme

The surveyor then prepares a subdivision scheme, which a registered physical planner must sign, resulting in the issuance of a Physical Planning Act (PPA) form, specifically the PPA 1 form. The subdivision blueprints are submitted to the County Lands Office for approval. Once approved, a PPA 2 form is issued.

4. Meeting with the Local Land Control Board

After submitting the subdivision blueprints, a current title search valid for three months, and the PPA 1 and PPA 2 forms, the landowner must schedule a meeting with the Local Land Control Board. This board, comprising local elders at the sub-county level, meets once a month and approves all land transfers in the area. The landowner must book this meeting at least two weeks in advance and attend it with their spouse, explaining their intentions for subdividing the land.

5. Placing of Beacons to Mark Boundaries

Nyota Njema sample of Beacon

With the Land Control Board’s consent, the surveyor places beacons to demarcate the land’s boundaries. In rural areas, an error margin of one meter is allowed, whereas in urban areas, cadastral (fixed) land boundaries measured in coordinates are preferred.

6. Signing of the Mutation Form

Once the boundaries are marked, the landowner and the surveyor sign three copies of the Mutation Form, which is then signed by a senior surveyor, known as a licensed surveyor. These forms, along with the title search documents, the Land Control Board consent form, and the PPA 1 and PPA 2 forms, are submitted to the district survey office.

7. Subdividing the Land

A cartographer assigns new plot numbers to the subdivided plots. The same documents are taken to the respective county land registries for the land registrar to register the new titles. Certified copies of the mutation forms are then submitted to the Survey of Kenya to amend the maps accordingly.

Requirements for Land Subdivision

Land subdivision in Kenya involves various requirements to ensure the process adheres to legal and regulatory standards. Below is a detailed list of the necessary documents and approvals needed for land subdivision:

  1. Proof of Official Title Deed Search

    Conduct an official title deed search at the local land registry to verify ownership and check for any encumbrances or restrictions on the land. This usually involves providing:

    • A copy of the national identity card.
    • A copy of the KRA PIN card.
    • The title deed number.
  2. Consent to Subdivide the Land from the Land Control Board

    Obtain consent from the local Land Control Board. This involves:

    • Booking a meeting with the board.
    • Presenting the reasons for subdivision.
    • Attending the meeting with your spouse if applicable.
  3. A Triplicate Filled PPA 1 Form from the County Offices

    Fill out the PPA 1 form in triplicate, which is obtained from the County offices. This form is part of the planning application process.

  4. A Well-Drawn Scheme Showing the Proposed Subdivision

    Provide a detailed subdivision scheme that includes:

    • The layout of the proposed subdivision.
    • Access roads.
    • Plans for waste and surface water disposal.
  5. Signed Planning Brief from the Physical Planner

    Engage a registered physical planner to prepare and sign a planning brief. This brief outlines the details of the subdivision plan and ensures it complies with planning regulations.

  6. Title Deed of the Land

    Submit the original title deed of the land to be subdivided as proof of ownership.

  7. A Well-Drawn Location Map of the Property

    Provide a detailed location map of the property, showing its position relative to surrounding landmarks and infrastructure.

  8. Payment Receipts for Subdivision Application and Land Rates:

    Pay the required fees for the subdivision application and any outstanding land rates. Ensure you have:

    • Receipt of payment for the application fee (e.g., Ksh 1,000 for the PPA 1 form).
    • Receipts for any land rates paid to date.

Land Subdivision Cost

  • The PPA 1 form costs Ksh 1,000 across all county governments.
  • The overall cost of the subdivision process varies depending on the size and location of the land and town or municipality of the property.

Step-by-Step Procedure for Subdividing Land

  1. Check for Restrictions

    • Conduct a title deed search at the local land registry to ensure there are no caveats or restrictions.
    • Title deed search costs vary from  Ksh 550 to 3000 depending on various counties’.
  2. Evaluate the Market

    • Analyze the market to understand the demand and pricing if the land is to be sold.
    • For gifting or family division, market evaluation is not necessary.
  3. Consult Local Planning Officer

    • Meet with the local planning officer to confirm if the land is eligible for subdivision and free of restrictions.
  4. Identify a Physical Planner

    • Engage a registered physical planner from the Kenya Institute of Planners.
    • The planner assists in creating a subdivision plan and advising on necessary utilities.
  5. Choose a Surveyor

    • Hire a registered surveyor from the Institute of Kenya Surveyors.
    • Survey costs range from Ksh 3,000 to Ksh 100,000.
    • The surveyor identifies property boundaries and advises on the subdivision process.
  6. Draft the Land Subdivision Plan/Map

    • Work with the physical planner and
      Nyota Njema Sample Mutation

      surveyor to draft a detailed subdivision map.

    • Ensure the map includes all necessary details for the local government’s review.
  7. Submit Application

    • Fill the PPA1 form, pay the application fee, and attach the payment receipt, subdivision map, and title deed.
    • Submit the application to the local government.
  8. Receive Response

    • The planning board’s response time varies by location. Some may require public participation, which can extend the timeline.
  9. Apply for New Title Deeds

    • Once subdivision is approved, apply for individual title deeds for each subdivided plot from the Ministry of Land.

Properties That Cannot Be Subdivided

  1. Properties used as collateral for loans.
  2. Properties with a caveat preventing any action.
  3. Properties involved in unresolved court cases.

Tax Payment for Subdivided Land

  • If the landowner retains ownership, no tax is due.
  • If the subdivided land is sold for profit, the seller must pay capital gains tax

Reasons for Subdividing Land

  1. Sharing Among Family Members

    Parents or guardians often subdivide their land to distribute it among their children or beneficiaries. This practice ensures that each family member has their own parcel of land, facilitating equitable inheritance and potentially reducing family disputes.

  2. Gifting

    Landowners may subdivide their property to gift portions to friends, religious centers, or organizations. This can be a generous act of charity or support, helping recipients establish a presence or carry out their activities.

  3. Selling for Profits

    Some landowners subdivide their land to sell portions for financial reasons. This can help cover significant expenses such as hospital bills, legal fees, or educational costs. Selling smaller parcels is often easier and more profitable than selling a large tract.

  4. Real Estate Development

    Developers often subdivide land to increase its market value and appeal. Smaller, well-planned plots can attract buyers looking for residential or commercial properties, thereby enhancing the overall value of the development.

  5. Developing Remaining Land

    After selling a portion of the subdivided land, the proceeds can be used to develop the remaining land. This might include building residential houses, commercial buildings, or infrastructure improvements, thus increasing the land’s value and usability.

Requirements for Land Subdivision

  1. Proof of Official Title Deed Search

    Conduct an official title deed search to verify ownership and check for any restrictions or encumbrances on the land.

  2. Consent from Land Control Board

    Obtain consent to subdivide the land from the local Land Control Board, ensuring that the subdivision complies with local regulations and community interests.

  3. PPA 1 Form

    Fill out the PPA 1 form, which outlines the proposed subdivision. This form is obtained from County offices.

  4. Subdivision Scheme

    Prepare a detailed scheme showing the proposed subdivision. This includes plans for access, waste disposal, and water management.

  5. Planning Brief

    Obtain a signed planning brief from a registered physical planner, outlining the feasibility and planning considerations for the subdivision.

  6. Title Deed

    Present the original title deed of the land being subdivided.

  7. Location Map

    Provide a well-drawn location map of the property, indicating its geographical context and boundaries.

  8. Payment Receipts

    Submit payment receipts for the application of subdivision and any outstanding land rates.

Land Subdivision Cost

  • The cost for the PPA 1 form is Ksh 1,000 in all county governments.
  • Overall costs vary depending on factors such as the size and location of the land, the complexity of the subdivision, and the professional fees for planners and surveyors.

Properties That Cannot Be Subdivided

  1. Collateral Properties

    Properties used as collateral for loans cannot be subdivided until the loan is fully repaid.

  2. Properties with Caveats

    Properties with legal restrictions (caveats) preventing any action cannot be subdivided.

  3. Properties with Ongoing Court Cases

    Properties involved in unresolved court cases cannot be subdivided until legal matters are settled.

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