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Buying Property in Kenya as a Foreigner: Rules, Steps, and Tips

Can foreigners own property in Kenya? Yes, they can – subject to certain conditions and restrictions. In order to own property in Kenya, foreigners must follow the relevant rules and steps.

For many foreigners looking to invest in the Kenyan property market, the question of whether or not they can own property in Kenya often arises. The good news is that, although the process of buying property in Kenya as a foreigner can be complex, it is not impossible.

Here are the steps that foreigners need to follow to own property in Kenya:

  • Obtain a valid Alien Identification Card (AIC) from the Kenyan Immigration Department: An AIC is necessary for any foreigner looking to buy property in Kenya and serves as proof of legal residency.

  • Search for and buy property in Kenya: In some cases, you may be able to purchase property directly from the seller, whereas in other cases, you may have to go through a real estate agent. The process of buying property in Kenya as a foreigner is complex and should not be undertaken without the assistance of somebody with expertise in this area.

  • Check the title deed for the property and obtain a letter of consent from the Kenyan government: This letter is essential for any foreigner looking to buy land in Kenya, and it is important to ensure that it is obtained from a reliable source.

  • Pay taxes and other fees associated with purchasing property in Kenya: These include stamp duty, capital gains tax, and the registration fee. It is important to ensure that all these taxes and fees are paid in full and on time.

According to the Kenyan Constitution of 2010, foreigners are allowed to own immovable property in Kenya. The same Constitution also allows the free movement of goods, services, and capital in and out of the country. However, the Constitution does not provide for unrestricted foreign ownership of land.

Under the current law, the land registration process is the same for both Kenyan citizens and foreigners. This means that the registration process for foreign investors is straightforward. The first step is to acquire a valid title deed for the land. A title deed is a legal document that proves ownership of the land.

Once the title deed is registered, the next step is to obtain a certificate of occupancy from the local government. This document will confirm that the foreign investor has the right to occupy the land and to use it for the stated purpose.

Foreign investors are also encouraged to purchase land through the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which are areas developed with the intention of attracting foreign investment. SEZs generally offer special incentives and benefits to foreign investors.

According to the Kenyan Vision 2030, the government of Kenya is committed to creating an enabling environment for foreign investment. As part of this commitment, the government has introduced various measures to facilitate foreign investors in the purchase of land. These measures include reducing the minimum investment required for land purchase, increasing access to financing, and streamlining the registration process.

Although the process of buying property in Kenya as a foreigner can be complex and time-consuming, it is not impossible. According to data from the World Bank, foreign investment in Kenya increased by 9.7% in 2020 and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.

For any foreigner looking to purchase property in Kenya, it is important to understand the rules and regulations that apply to foreign ownership of property. By following these steps, you should be able to purchase property in Kenya successfully and enjoy the long-term rewards that come with owning a property in this beautiful country.

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