How to Know If Your Title Deed Is Fake Or Original In Kenya

Learn how to differentiate between genuine and fake title deeds in Kenya and protect your property investment

Oct 25, 2023 - 13:07
How to Know If Your Title Deed Is Fake Or Original In Kenya
How to Know If Your Title Deed Is Fake Or Original In Kenya

When it comes to owning land in Kenya, one crucial document stands as the ultimate proof of ownership – the title deed. In Kenya, as in many countries, the legitimacy of a title deed is paramount in ensuring that your property investment is secure. However, distinguishing between genuine and fake title deeds can be challenging for many prospective buyers. In this article, we will answer the essential questions, provide insights into the main sections of a title deed, and outline the steps to conduct a title deed search. By the end of this article, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to protect your investment and make informed decisions when purchasing land.

Key Features of a Title Deed

Before delving into how to differentiate fake and genuine title deeds, it's essential to understand a title deed's main sections and features. A title deed is a legal document that proves property ownership, be it land or a housing unit. Here's a breakdown of its key components:

First Page:

  • Title number
  • Estimated land size
  • Map sheet number
  • Owner's name and National ID number
  • Type of land description
  • Seal and date of issue

Second Page:

  • Property and proprietorship sections
  • Parcel Number
  • Owner's signature and stamp

Third Page (Encumbrances Section):

  • Detailed history and records of the land
  • Information on court cases, loans, mortgages, disputes, or other unique details

Fourth Page (Back Cover):

  • Title Deed number
  • Document code

Understanding these features is the first step in identifying a genuine title deed.

How to Differentiate a Fake Title Deed

Identifying a fake title deed from an original one is only sometimes a straightforward task just by visual inspection. However, you can significantly increase your chances of spotting a fake by considering the following:

  1. Inspect the Pages: A genuine title deed typically consists of four pages. It may be a red flag if the document you are examining has more or fewer pages.
  2. Online Title Deed Search: The most effective way to verify a title deed's authenticity is by conducting a title deed search at the Land's Registry. You can use the e-Citizen platform for an online search or visit the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning for a manual search.
  3. Matching Details: Ensure that the information on the title deed matches the property details and owner's identity accurately. Any discrepancies should raise suspicion.
  4. Consistency in Signatures: Carefully compare the signatures and initials on the original and owner's duplicate copies. Even minor discrepancies should be treated as potential red flags.
  5. Serial Numbers: The serial numbers on both copies should match perfectly. Any inconsistency could indicate a counterfeit title deed.
  6. Owner's Duplicate Certificate: The owner's duplicate copy should be marked as such and bear a red seal. A damaged seal may indicate tampering or forgery.
  7. Register of Deeds: Verify that the Register of Deeds who signed and issued the title was the legitimate officeholder. Inconsistencies in this regard should be investigated.
  8. Last Two Digits: Pay attention to the last two digits of the title number. They should correspond with the last two digits of the page number on the title. Such consistency is a sign of a legitimate title deed.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Conduct a Title Deed Search

To ensure the authenticity of a title deed, follow these steps for a title deed search:

  1. Create an e-Citizen Account: Sign up on the e-Citizen platform.
  2. Visit the Ministry of Land: Navigate to the Ministry of Land and Physical Planning section.
  3. Choose Land Search Option: Select the land search option from the menu.
  4. Insert Title Number: Enter the title number of the property you want to search.
  5. Complete Online Form: Fill out the online land search form with the necessary information and submit it.
  6. Make Payment: Pay the required fee of Ksh 550 through Mpesa or a card and print the search results.

The results of the title deed search will provide you with the information needed to determine whether the title deed is genuine or fake.

How to Check Title Deed Online

Thanks to the Ardhisasa Platform and e-Citizen, online checking your title deed details has become more accessible. Here's a step-by-step guide to verifying the validity of your title deed online:

  1. Sign Up: Create an account on the Ardhisasa Platform or e-Citizen.
  2. Submit Title Deed Details: Enter your title deed details on the platform.
  3. Await Results: Wait for the platform to process your request and provide the results.

Checking your title deed online is a convenient way to ensure its authenticity.

Step-by-Step Procedure for Changing a Name on a Title Deed

Changing the name on a title deed, especially during property transactions, follows a specific process. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Obtain Property Valuation Report: Obtain a report from a property valuer on the land or house.
  2. Approval to Transfer: Secure approval to transfer the property from the Ministry of Land through the National Land Commission.
  3. Land Rates Clearance: Obtain a certificate showing clearance of land rates from the local government office.
  4. Title Deed Search: Perform a title deed search for the property to confirm its current status.
  5. Stamp Duty Payment: Calculate and make the necessary payment for stamp duty based on the property's valuation.
  6. Submission of Documents: Compile all the required documents, including the clearance certificate, title deed search results, Ministry of Land approval, valuation report, and proof of stamp duty payment. Submit these to the land registry for registration and transfer.
  7. Notification and Collection: Await notification that the title deed is ready for collection, signifying the successful completion of the transfer.

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In conclusion, the authenticity of a title deed is paramount when purchasing land or property in Kenya. While distinguishing a fake title deed from a genuine one may be complex, following the steps outlined in this guide can significantly enhance your ability to protect your investment. Always prioritize conducting a title deed search and verifying key details to secure your property ownership rights. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a title deed?

    • A title deed is a legal document that proves property ownership, such as land or a housing unit.

How can I differentiate a fake title deed from a genuine one?

    • While it may be challenging to distinguish them visually, conducting a title deed search at the Land's Registry is a reliable way to verify authenticity. Additionally, ensure that critical details and features match accurately.

What are the key features of a title deed?

    • A title deed typically consists of four pages with information such as the title number, land size, map sheet number, owner's name, National ID number, and details about the land. It also includes a seal and date of issue.

How do I change the name on a title deed?

    • To change the name on a title deed, you'll need to follow a series of steps, including obtaining a property valuation report, securing Ministry of Land approval, clearing land rates, and paying stamp duty.

Can you check a title deed online?

    • Yes, you can check your title deed details online through platforms like Ardhisasa and e-Citizen.

What should I do if I suspect a fake title deed during a property transaction?

    • If you suspect a fake title deed, it's crucial to conduct a title deed search and consult with legal experts to ensure the property's authenticity.

How can I confirm the location and size of a property?

    • To confirm the location and size of a property, consider organizing a surveyor to obtain a mutation from the Survey of Kenya, which will provide accurate ground measurements and location details.

What is a mutation in land terminology?

    • A mutation is a legal process that involves updating or altering land records to reflect changes in ownership, boundaries, or other key property details.
Joseph Richard Joseph is a graduate of Mathematics and Computer Science (Applied Option). With expertise in Technology and Finance, he brings his knowledge to the field, demonstrating an authoritative understanding of these interrelated areas. Joseph is pursuing a Master's in Software Engineering, further expanding his skill set.