Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday signed into law the Sectional Properties Act and Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) bills.
The new law is a boon for apartment property developers and owners since it gives purchasers of apartment properties the legal title to their units.
“The new Sectional Properties Act, 2019 provides for the division of buildings into units to be owned by individual proprietors among other elaborate provisions. It repeals the Sectional Properties Act of 1987,” reads the statement from the Office of the President.
Among other privileges, titles the Sectional Properties Act will give apartment owners greater transaction ability in financing and disposal of properties in the market.
Furthermore, independent and complete ownership will give banks greater incentive to lend to apartment owners since charges can be placed directly on individual titles.
“The owner of a unit shall only be liable in respect of an interest endorsed on the sectional plan in proportion to the unit factor for his unit,” reads the law.
Under the Sectional Properties Act, developers can subdivide buildings into two or more units by the registration of a sectional plan prepared, by a surveyor, from a building plan that has been approved by a county government.
For common property comprised in a registered sectional plan, the act provides that they shall be held by the owners of all the units as tenants in common in shares proportional to the unit factors for their respective units.
Landlords or owners of existing units are allowed to convert their properties into units under the act if they want to sell them as units. This implies developers will no longer be allowed to sell units without sectional plans to enable individual ownership.
Surveyors and lawyers are expected to see a swell in business over the coming months as developers and property owners scramble to embrace the new market realities.
In order to preserve the interest of homeowners, the Sectional Properties Act prevents developers from constructing additional buildings after selling some units.
The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 2020 amends twenty-one (21) statutes among them the Interpretation and General Provisions Act, Records Disposal Act, Penal Code, Public Holidays Act and Firearms Act.
Other laws amended by the new law are the Official Secrets Act, Kenya Roads Board Act, Statistics Act, Employment Act, Accountants Act, Judicial Service Act, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Act, Employment and Labour Relations Court Act, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Act, and National Police Service Commission Act.
Also amended are the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) Act, Universities Act, Kenya Law Reform Commission Act, Investment and Financial Analysts Act, Witness Protection Act and Kenya Coast Guard Act.