Can Non-Citizens Own Land in Kenya?
Many non-citizens have been made to think that they can only own land in Kenya through proxies or by forming partnerships with citizens. Non-Kenyan citizens can actually own land under their own names, but there are certain limitations to this.
Other non-citizens get defrauded by being lured to buy freehold land. So what does the law say about this?
What the Law says
According to Article 65(1) of the Constitution a person who is not a citizen may hold land on the basis of leasehold tenure only, and any such lease, however, granted shall not exceed ninety-nine years.
Although this law is very clear, there is no law in place that prevents non-citizens from acquiring freehold land. And so if a non-Kenyan citizen acquires freehold land, Article 65(2) of the constitution implies that the foreign citizen has acquired a leasehold property of a period of ninety-nine years that is subject to a peppercorn rent (an exceedingly low rent).
The Land Control Act
According to the Land Control Act in section 9 in respect to section 6, non-citizens are not supposed to own agricultural land or land that is within land control areas. Such lands are lands that are outside of municipalities, townships or markets and land that the Land’s Cabinet Sectary designates as controlled land. A foreign citizen can only be excluded from this provision by the president.
Front-row Beach Plots
Previously, non-citizens were restricted from owning front row beach plots, but this law was repealed, although some people claim that the law still exists. Foreigners can own the front, second-row beach plots and any plot along the Kenyan coast.
Non-citizen should familiarize themselves with the law of the country they intend to invest in to avoid getting into unscrupulous deals. They should also seek advice from market analysts and property lawyers.