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How to differentiate fake & genuine title deeds before purchasing land

Don't be a victim of land eviction, ensuring the authenticity of a title deed requires meticulous attention to several key details.

Title deed

The process of authenticating a title deed is not one to be taken lightly, as property ownership and rights hinge on the legitimacy of this document.

By thoroughly scrutinising these essential factors, property owners and stakeholders can better ensure that their interests are safeguarded and their rights protected.

Always consult with legal experts or property professionals when in doubt to avoid complications in property transactions or disputes.


When verifying a title deed, the first critical step is to meticulously compare the signatures and initials on both the original and owner's duplicate copies.

Any discrepancies, even minor ones, should be treated as red flags. The consistency of these signatures is a fundamental indicator of authenticity.


The property description, which includes specifics like location and area, should remain uniform across both the original and owner's duplicate copies.

Discrepancies in these details may indicate an issue with the deed's legitimacy and should be carefully investigated.

The serial numbers found on both the original and owner's duplicate copies must match perfectly. A discrepancy in these numbers can be a clear sign of a counterfeit title deed.


The owner's duplicate copy should be distinctly marked as such, often bearing the label 'Owner's Duplicate Certificate.'

Additionally, it should feature a red seal. This seal must remain intact when exposed to moisture, as a damaged seal could signify tampering or forgery.

To ensure the deed's authenticity, it is crucial to verify that the Register of Deeds who signed and issued the title was indeed the legitimate officeholder at the time of issuance.


Any inconsistencies in this regard should be treated as a serious concern.

Double-check the issuance of the Decree at the Land Registration Authority to validate its legitimacy.

This official step in the title deed process should align with established procedures and authorities.


Pay close attention to the last two digits of the title number. These digits should correspond with the last two digits of the page number located at the top right section of the title.

Such consistency in numbering is a key indicator of a legitimate title deed.

The process of transferring land ownership in Kenya involves a series of crucial steps that the seller must navigate diligently to ensure a smooth and legally sound transaction.


Below are the key procedures that a land seller typically follows from the initiation of the transfer process until its successful conclusion:

  • Clearance of land rates

The initial step for the seller is to obtain a certificate verifying the clearance of any outstanding land rates from the local government office.

This document serves as proof that all property taxes and dues have been settled, ensuring a clean financial record for the land.

  • Title deed search

Concurrently, a thorough title deed search for the specific land plot earmarked for transfer must be conducted.

This search helps to confirm the current ownership status, uncover any existing encumbrances, and validate the land's eligibility for transfer.

  • Ministry of Lands approval

To proceed with the transfer, the seller must secure approval from the Ministry of Land, facilitated by the National Land Commission.


This step involves obtaining official authorisation for the intended property transfer, certifying its legality and compliance with regulations.

  • Property valuation

A comprehensive property valuation report must be obtained from a licensed property valuer.

This report is a critical component as it determines the stamp duty, which is the tax imposed on the transaction. The valuation report ensures a fair and accurate assessment of the land's market value.

  • Payment of stamp duty

Once the valuation report is available, the seller is required to make the necessary payment of stamp duty to the relevant tax authorities.

This payment is based on the valuation and acts as a crucial revenue collection for the government.

  • Submission of transfer documents

The final phase of the process involves compiling all the required documents and submitting them.


This submission, which includes the clearance certificate, title deed search results, Ministry of Land approval, valuation report, and proof of stamp duty payment, is essential for the registration and transfer of the title deed to the government's land registry.

  • Notification and collection

After successfully completing the process and submission of all the relevant documents, the seller awaits notification that the title deed is ready for collection.

This signifies the official completion of the land transfer, and the seller can then proceed to collect the updated title deed.



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