REVIEW OF THE LAND LAWS (AMENDMENTS) BILL, 2023-KENYA

On 30th October 2023, the National Assembly received and gazetted via Kenya Gazette supplement number 194, the Land Laws (Amendments) Bill number 65 of 2023. The principal object of this bill is to make a variety of amendments to the laws that relate to land so as to enhance efficiency in matters relating to grant and disposition as well as compulsory acquisition of land.

Below are some of the proposed amendments in the bill:

  1. Amendment to the Land Act No. 6 of 2012

The Bill proposes to amend the land act to introduce amendments relating to general conditions relating to leases, licenses and agreements for public land, to introduce new provisions to regulate rent for the several periods and valuation of land for rent. Additionally, the bill seeks to amend provisions relating to compulsory acquisition of land.

The exact proposals include: one, “Notwithstanding anything contained in any lease, the Commission to, every 10 years until the expiration of the term, caused the land which is subject of a lease to be valued for purposes of determining the rent which shall be payable for the second and subsequent period of such lease and the rent so determined be payable as from the beginning of the period for which it is determined to be payable.”

Two, “whenever the National or county government is satisfied that it is necessary to acquire a particular land, the respective Cabinet Secretary or County Executive Committee Member to submit a request to the Cabinet secretary for land requesting to acquire the land compulsorily. The Cabinet Secretary for land shall then by regulations prescribed the criteria and guidelines to be adhered to by the acquiring body in the acquisition of such land.

B. Amendment to the land Registration Act No. 3 of 2012

The bill proposes to amend the Land Registration Act to provide that the Registrar shall not Register a charge where land rent has not been paid.

C. Amendment to the National Land Commission Act No. 5 of 2012

The bill proposes to amend the NLC Act to remove time limits to review all grants and dispositions of public land and to allow continuous receipt of historical land injustice claims to be heard after the year 2026 by upholding the provisions beyond the ten years stated limit.

In this regard the bill proposes that NLC to initiate, receive, admit and investigate complaint on present or historical land injustices and recommend appropriate redress. A historical land injustice means a grievance which was occasioned by a violation of a right in land on the basis of law, policy, declaration, administrative practice, treaty or agreement and resulted to displacement from habitual place of residence. Such claim shall be permissible if they were occasioned by: colonial occupation, independence struggle, pre-independence treaty or agreement between community and government, development induced displacement for which no adequate compensation was provided, inequitable land adjudication process, politically motivated or conflict-based eviction, corruption and other illegality, natural disaster and other causes approved by the commission.

This bill is envisaged to have a great impact on the commercial space especially where loan borrowers depend on leasehold titles to secure loans from financial institutions.

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