Land Use and physical planning act 2019

The ministry of lands recently published the new Physical and Land Use Planning Act, 2019 which came into force on 5th August 2019, repealing the Physical Planning Act of 1996. The new law will now help government to implement the planning, use, regulation and development of land in Kenya.

The 2019 planning act has incorporated changes in governance and current issues affecting land and development in the country. Among the many aspects highlighted, the Act has laid out a set of operating timelines for various matters which stakeholders in the real estate value chain will need to observe.

For a start, developers will have only 3-years to act on development permissions before the permission lapses, after which they will have to repeat the application process.

In cases where a developer undertakes building before getting a building approval, the developer will have 90-days to restore the land to its original state failure to which the responsible county government shall restore the land at the cost of such a developer.

And if an applicant does not receive a response to their application for development permission after a period of 60 days, such an application will be deemed to have been approved by the relevant authorities.

Notably, projects which received approval under the repealed legislation must commence within 24 months from the date on which the permission was granted or risk such permission lapsing. After this period, such projects will require fresh approvals under the 2019 Planning Act.

The Act also requires counties to prepare their respective county development plans after every 10 years, and that the national plan be completed within two years.

The new law places a greater emphasis on public participation in the planning process, gives more clarity on the difference between what is considered as commercial and industrial property.

According to the Act, easements and wayleaves will now require development permission among other developments.