The concept of digitization of the Land in Kenya began in 2013 to give effect to Sections 9 and 10 of the Land Registration Act 2012.
Section 9 gives the Registrar of Lands the mandate to maintain the register and any document required in a secure, accessible and reliable format which includes amongst other ways, electronic files.
Section 10 on the other hand, places emphasis on the accessibility of the register by members of the public by electronic means amongst others.
The Land Registration Act mandates the Cabinet Secretary, to make regulations as to particulars and format to be contained in a register or other documents to be kept under the Act to operationalize the provisions of this Act.
The Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning formulated the Land Registration (Electronic Transactions) Regulations, 2020 (“the Regulations”) issued vide Legal Notice 101 of June 2019 to provide an enabling framework for the roll out of a system for carrying out of electronic land transactions. The Regulations were gazetted on 14th July 2020 and apply to the Nairobi Land Registry. These Regulations detail the way the system is to be accessed, operated, and maintained.
In light of the above, the Business Laws (Amendments) Act of 2020 further made various amendments to existing legislation to facilitate electronic registration of land transactions.
On 3rd April 2018, the current Cabinet Secretary, Ms. Farida Karoney launched the digitization of the Land Registry at Ardhi house a journey that has taken a number of years to get to where we are today.
The digitization was meant to facilitate the following applications online;
- Searches (search land ownership records);
- Land Rent (payment of rent, uploading of receipts and downloading rent clearance certificates);
- Transfer of ownership of property;
- Assessment of stamp duty;
- Creation of Securities against property;
- Land Rates (query and pay land rates);
- Obtaining consents to Transfer, Charge and Lease;
- Mass Titling program verification (authentication of owners).
- Cautions and withdrawal of caution (application for the registration or withdrawal of a caution).
Until recently, it was only possible to make some of the above applications on the e-Citizen Platform.
The Ardhisasa Platform is therefore meant to bring to reality the long desired digitization of land services and transactions.
WHAT IS ARDHISASA?
The National Land Information Management System (NLIMS) commonly called Ardhisasa was launched on 27th April 2021.
Ardhisasa is an online platform (“the Platform”) that allows Citizens, stakeholders and interested parties to interact with land information held and processes undertaken by the Government. We can well describe it as the platform that will offer a one stop shop for all Government services and information on land.
The Platform has been developed jointly by the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning (MoLPP) and the National Land Commission (NLC) and key stakeholders in Government.
The Platform will enable digital transactions and end manual land transactions in the country. The essence of the Platform is to speed up land transactions and enable the common Mwananchi to access all services offered at the Lands ministry through it.
At the click of a button, users will now be able to search and carry out various land transactions, drastically reducing human interactions, delays and other inconveniences previously experienced at land registries.
Further, this means that the Ministry of Land e-Citizen portal shall no longer render the Land transaction services it used to offer before.
The Platform allows the lodging of applications for various services offered by the Ministry and the Commission. Any applications lodged are to be handled through the platform and responses presented through it.
HOW TO REGISTER
To access the services offered on the Platform, one must hold an account with Ardhisasa.
You access the platform via; https://ardhisasa.lands.go.ke/home .
The system provides for the registration of three types of accounts; –
- Individual Registration:
To register an individual account, one is required to submit the following in the Platform;
- National Identification Card Serial Number and the ID Number,
- Current email address,
- Passport-sized photo (with white background), and
- Current personal phone number.
- Enter your password to complete the registration process.
Note that at the moment there is no provision for the registration of foreign nationals on the platform.
- Professional User Registration:
The individual user account provides a separate interface that enables professionals such as Advocates, Registered Physical Planners, and Registered Quantity Surveyors to upgrade their account to a professional user account. To register a professional user account, one must;
- be registered as an individual user,
- be a member of good standing to the relevant professional body that governs his/her profession and;
- have copies of the requisite documentation.
The professional account enables professionals to initiate specialized services on behalf of their clients.
- Company Registration:
Companies are required to register company accounts. To register a Company account, one should have the following;
- Company’s Company registration number,
- Current official company mobile number (registered using one of the director’s ID number),
- Current company email address, and
- Passport-sized photo(s) of the directors (with white background).
- Enter your password to complete the registration process.
ARDHI SASA SERVICES
The services offered on the Platform include: –
1. Land Registration Services;
- registration of cautions,
- charges, leases,
- certificates of title/ leases,
- replacement of titles,
- assessment for stamp duty, and
2. Land Administration Services;
- payment of land rent,
- extension of leases,
- change of user,
- preparation of lease,
- extension of user, and
- renewal of leases
3. Physical Planning Services;
- approval of Part Development Plans,
- Plan Preparation, and
- issuance of Certificates of Compliance
4. Survey and Mapping Services;
- New Grants,
- Sectional Properties,
- Extension of Leases, and
- Change of User
5. Valuation Services;
- Asset Valuation,
- Government Leasing,
- Government Purchase,
- Estate Administration, and
5. Adjudication & Settlement of Land
6. Land allocation services by the National Land Commission.
HOW THE PLATFORM WORKS
As stated earlier, the system provides a platform where all land transactions are to be conducted.
The platform will still allow land registration and administration processes to be carried out as set out in law. It does not change or alter any processes whatsoever.
Further the system not alter any property information and details as they currently are in the land registry records.
At the moment, the property records available in the platform are those registered under the Nairobi Registry. It is anticipated that the Ministry is working on updating the system to include properties registered at the Central Registry (i.e the Government Lands and the Land Titles Registries) and all other registries in other counties in the country. The Government further projects that all counties will be covered by the end of 2022.
The Nairobi Lands registry is not accepting lodging of manual applications.
Documents that are registered under the Government Lands Registry (GLA) and Central Registry (RTA) are currently being processed manually as before.
IMPORTANCE OF THE PLATFORM;
- With the digitalization of Land transactions, time spend on the transactions and necessary registrations will greatly be reduced. Once the Ardhisasa platform is fully operationalized services will be easily accessible and efficient.
- Issues of missing deed files which have in the recent past caused delays in registration will now become something of the past. The system is also meant to address issues arising from land registration and transfer processes such as dilapidated records, missing documents, duplication of titles and double allocation.
This ensures efficient services.
- The platform will be greatly helpful to commercial banks and financial institutions by allowing them to ascertain ownership status or existence of pre-existing liens on any property that might be offered as collateral. This will in turn ensure that drawdowns to the customers are made within the shortest time possible.
WAY FORWARD FOR PROPRIETORS;
In the Platform there is a section titled “My Properties”. Under this section, a registered individual is supposed to add their property in order to transact with it in the system. By adding their property, one is required to provide the following details;
- Proprietorship details- whether it is a Sole Proprietorship, Joint Proprietorship or Proprietorship In Common. If it is a joint proprietorship or proprietorship in common, one is required to provide all details of the other proprietor(s).
- Property details
- Property document.
In the light of the above, it is advisable for proprietors, to take the initiative of registering to the Platform and confirming their records.
The Ministry has made it clear that the system shall NOT provide for the following categories of properties: –
- Properties with incomplete data records, e.g., records that lack documentation showing how the proprietor came to own the property;
- Properties adversely mentioned on the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Illegal and Irregular Allocation of Land (Ndung’u Report);
- Properties mentioned under the Revocation Gazette Notice No. 6862.
In the case where an individual’s property details are missing, the person will require to obtain a ticket on the platform and visit the Ministry offices to have the issue resolved and ascertain that their property is not in any way having unresolved issues.
Having an online system makes it easier and efficient for institutions and individuals to access Land services. Digitization is bound to reduce the cost associated with keeping the property register up to date, eliminate informal side payments that have traditionally been associated with property registration, and improve to information. This in turn could potentially increase the volume of registered land transactions, reduce the level of informality, and thus improve land information comprehensiveness.
This is indeed a new dawn!