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People

Amrit Soar is a Partner in the Real Estate and Finance Department of IKM Advocates with 35 years' post-admission experience in real estate and banking transactions. She has handled numerous multimillion dollar real estate projects, including the acquisition of embassies and consulates by key diplomatic missions.

Amrit has also handled complex corporate finance and security documentation for both local and international banks. Her expertise also covers probate and estate planning. She is a respected and trusted legal advisor to many local and international clients and banks in her core areas of practice. She has been recognized by Chambers Global as “an outstanding conveyancer.” She also handles the training, knowledge management and risk management initiatives for the firm.

Experience has included advising:

  • A developer in the acquisition and sale of 28 warehouses in a business park
  • A women’s hospital in the purchase of a hospital / medical complex
  • Developers in end-to-end purchase and sale of plots and houses in several gated communities
  • Several banks, both local and international, in the preparation of security documentation for advances particularly to businesses in the flower, horticultural and manufacturing industries
  • Banks on realization and restructuring of securities
  • On due diligences for purposes of acquisition of land for renewable energy projects
  • On land issues relating to special economic zones (SEZ)

Professional Qualifications

  • Advocate admitted to the High Court of Kenya (1983)

Education

  • Kenya School of Law, Diploma in Law (1982)
  • University of Nairobi, Bachelor of Laws LL.B. (1979)

Recognition

  • Ranked as leading lawyer in Chambers & Partners Global
  • Ranked as leading lawyer in IFLR1000

Prior Experience

  • 2013 to date, Partner, IKM, DLA Piper Africa member firm in  Kenya
  • 2011 to 2012, Consultant, IKM, DLA Piper Africa member firm in Kenya

Memberships

  • Law Society of Kenya
  • Law Society of Kenya (currently serving as member, LSK Continuing Professional Education Committee)
  • Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya
  • Former member of the working group, Internationally Trained Lawyers Programme (ITLP), Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, Canada

Why digitising land records is vital

Kenya is often referred to as the “Silicon Savannah” given the role of ICT in economic growth. Technology continues to impact most sectors and their operations. While keeping up with this trend, the Government of Kenya (“Government”) through the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning (“Ministry”) in consultation with key stakeholders in the real estate sector embarked on digitization of land records, a process aimed at migrating information relating to land from manual registers to a digital database.

FAQs on Sectional Properties law in Kenya

The Sectional Properties Act 2020 ("Act") was enacted in 2020 to align with the provisions of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 and the land laws enacted in 2012. Subsequently, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning gazetted the Sectional Properties Regulations ("Regulations") on 16 November 2021. Please read the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the Act and the Regulations below.

Land use and control and its impact on foreign investment

Secure property rights, efficient land ownership and use are the cornerstone of any modern economy. Kenya has kept up with global trends in recognizing the fundamental role that land plays in sustainable economic growth and has made efforts to ensure that property rights are secured and that the law is clear to foreign investors looking to invest in real estate in Kenya

Long wait for apartment titles

Kenya enacted its first sectional properties law in 1987 but the law came into force in 1990. Its main purpose was to provide for the division of buildings into units to be owned by individual proprietors. Under this law, owners of apartments were to be issued with title deeds, as opposed to long-term leases. However, since the statute did not apply in exclusion of other statutes relating to land, most developers have been structuring their projects in such a way that buyers are issued with registered long-term leases as the documents of title, and this has become the norm over the years.

How developers should exit real estate projects

The real estate sector has been the key to creation of wealth for some of the world’s tycoons. It therefore comes as no surprise that Kenya too has been, more so in the last decade, experiencing massive investment in real estate developments due to the sector’s perceived high return. Kenya is also estimated to have an annual housing deficit of approximately 2 million residential houses, which arguably makes a case for the large-scale residential developments as a lucrative sector for investors looking for high returns. However, like any other good investment, careful planning of a developer’s exit in such developments is essential to navigate the significant legal and management issues that could potentially dilute a developer’s return, more so, in large scale and phased residential developments.