Property Scams Unveiled: Avoid Getting Conned When Buying Property in Kenya

In the recent past and majorly since independence, cases of land/property conman ship are not uncommon in Kenya. Time and again even when we are currently during an information era, this trend has continued to cause havoc amongst locals. Millions of monies always end up in the pockets of hungry wolves who take advantage of the unsuspecting public.

The following are some of the most common ways evolving around property conman-ship that are used to defraud Kenyans;

  1. Sale of land/property using a proposed site plan while promising subdividing the land at a later date upon full payment of the sale price. This is a common trick used by rogue land dealers. A proposed site plan is not an actual subdivision but rather a sketch sic! A subdivision must be done by a registered and licensed surveyor.
  2. Share certificates/letters of allotment as ownership documents. These documents are not proof of ownership but rather just indicative paperwork. Land selling companies with multiple directors has in the past been accused of double allocation of plots/lands to multiple buyers. This results to disputed claims on the same plots/lands and mostly end up in the courts each buyer trying to prove being the original and genuine owner.
  3. Lack of using qualified land professionals during the acquisition/purchase process. Most times buyers want to use shortcuts and have the transaction done at ‘minimum’ cost almost by the click of a button, only for this to probably turn out into premium tears.  The mere avoidance of spending a few extra coins to hire a professional to do due diligence on the property results into utmost loss of a fortune. Some key land professionals to have on your dial include; valuers, surveyors, conveyance lawyers or land administration officers.
  4. Ambiguous legal agreements.  Land selling individuals/companies enter into agreements to sell properties/land that they don’t actually own. Further agreements on the intent to sell the said land is entered between the potential buyer and the ‘seller’. The ‘seller’ thus receives the monies with a promise to transfer the title to the buyer. This may never see light of day.
  5. Corruption. Corrupt officers at the ministry of lands are used by unscrupulous land sellers in manipulation of ownership documents, ‘misplacing’ of ownership records, multiple title processing, among others.
  6. Advertisement of the properties through mainstream media. The media doesn’t do due diligence on the purported properties before broadcasting such advertisements. The mainstream media being a trusted source of information in the country, the viewers/listeners gain confidence on the said property vendors and buy immediately, again without doing due diligence on the properties being offered.
  7. Advertisement by celebrities and the recently upcoming ‘influencers’. These are paid millions to advertise the said ‘properties’ on their social media platforms. Their adamant followers trust every information these so called celebrities has to offer.
  8. Seemingly lower prices/favorable/friendly payment plan for the property. This is a scheme to sweeten the deal but it’s a trap to that has been orchestrated to attract struggling Kenyans (Hustlers) to make deposits and installments with the goal of acquiring the property, only to end up being conned.

Land/property is an emotive possession that every person wants to have a share of. This has thus resulted in many people losing an arm and leg as they try to acquire possession of the same. Doing due diligence both on the property and the seller is therefore not an option. We have laid the basic steps or processes that you can follow up to get the necessary information on the same in our next publication/blog.

AVENUE VALUERS LIMITED Publications – 2023

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