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Real Estate

We have extensive experience and insight into all aspects of land law and property transactions in Kenya. Whether structuring a complex development project or assisting in the purchase of a new property, our team takes a result-oriented, strategic approach to negotiate, document and complete all aspects of property transactions. 

Some of our clients in the real estate market include:

  • Real estate developers
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Owners and tenants of commercial and residential buildings
  • Shopping centers and malls
  • Hotels
  • Schools
  • Multiresidential developments
  • Mixed-use developments 

IKM keeps clients abreast of any developments in the law and guidelines relating to land transactions through its ‘Alert’ service. 

Our clients benefit from our significant experience in handling complex, long-term projects that involve drafting documentation, facilitating negotiations, navigating legal and regulatory issues and, when necessary, litigating on their behalf.

Experience has included advising:

  • A real estate company on a multiphase apartment development project in Kiambu. The transaction involved the transfer of the land, preparing the offer letters, agreements for sale and leases, carrying out a change of user, registration of partial discharges and leases and the incorporation of a management company.
  • A Fortune 500 energy company in the setting up of a proposed wind energy project in Kajiado County.
  • Executive Properties Limited, a property development company, on the structure and legal framework of a development of 176 residential maisonettes, 72 apartments and a nursery school in Nairobi.
  • A client on remedial actions to be taken to ensure that third parties could not challenge land ownership.
  • Hua Xiang Development Limited, a property development company, on the structure and legal framework of a development of 48 residential apartments in the up-market area of Lavington, Nairobi.
  • National Oil Corporation of Kenya Limited in a due diligence review exercise. This was in relation to the purchase of various assets (including various petrol stations and undeveloped property consisting of 24 parcels of land) from Somken Petroleum Company Limited.
  • A leading investor in connection with an expansion plan of its integrated mixed-use development comprising a hotel with 250 rooms, a mall and offices, including preparing all agreements relating to project construction retail shop leases and advising on the overall corporate and management structure to ensure the intended mixed-use development is achieved.
  • A leading global manufacturer of consumer products in relation to the development of a manufacturing plant in Kenya. The transaction involved the purchase of approximately 70 acres of land. IKM assisted the client in identifying the most suitable parcel of land to be acquired for the manufacturing plant. We reviewed and negotiated the terms of sale of the property, advised on the necessary permits required in respect to the manufacturing plant and change of user of the property in light of the intended mixed-use development. The brief also involved registering transfers at the land office.
  • A Chinese corporation on the acquisition of various properties in Nairobi for the construction of luxury office and apartment complexes. The transactions involved carrying out of due diligence on the properties at the relevant land registries and survey offices, confirming with the local authorities the permitted use of the properties, preparation and negotiation of the terms of the sale agreements, preparation and registration of transfer documents, finalization of titles in the name of the client and post-registration due diligence.
  • A leading school in the sale of a portion of its property for more than USD11 million. The transaction involved co-coordinating the subdivision and change of the user of the property, drafting and negotiating the terms of the sale agreement, and ensuring that the client was satisfied with the conditions set out in the agreement.
  • Ranked in Real Estate (Chambers & Partners 2019)
  • Ranked in Real Estate (The Legal 500 2018-2019)

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.

How Landlord, Tenant Bill will reform tenancy

The Landlord and Tenant Bill 2021 (Bill) was introduced by the Majority Leader in the National Assembly, Hon. Amos Kimunya earlier in 2021 and has since been passed by the National Assembly and is currently being considered by the Senate. The Bill seeks to promote stability in the rental sector by consolidating laws governing the relationship between landlords and tenants and repealing existing laws including the Distress for Rent Act (DRA), the Rent Restriction Act (RRA) and the Landlord and Tenant (Shops, Hotels and Catering Establishments) Act (LTA).

How investors can secure viable off-plan purchase

Many Kenyans consider real estate as one of the most stable and secure forms of investment. One of the options available to a person wishing to invest in real estate is to purchase the property “off plan”. An off-plan purchase is an arrangement where the purchaser invests their money into a project or a property that is yet to be developed or to be completed, on the promise that the property will be fully constructed within a particular time span. The purchaser would ordinarily have to pay the entire purchase price or the larger portion of it, which is ideally supposed to be utilised in the construction of the project