Opinion / Commentaries
Thursday, 17 Nov 2016 17:01 EAT
With many Kenyans, Nairobians in particular, struggling to own their houses nowadays, buying land has become a nightmare with many land fraudsters making a living from unsuspecting buyers who have little or no experience in purchasing a piece of land. Many people especially the middle class who dream of building their own houses more so in the outskirts of Nairobi, have fallen victim to fraudsters who have put adverts at our televisions, radios, mainstream media and also banners purporting to be selling land but only for one to realize later that they have been conned.
There are multiple stories of how people have lost their money to fake agents who tell you to deposit certain amount in their accounts so that you prove you are serious about purchasing the land but after some time they are not reachable on the numbers they were using. Others come up with excuses that their partners have opposed to the sale of the land after paying the deposit and when they agree to refund the money, they do so in terms of instalments and others even end up not paying the whole amount. Some of these agents are believed to be monitoring pieces of land which lie unoccupied or undeveloped for some years before selling to unsuspecting Kenyans which later brews a fight and event court battles when the real owner shows up.
The fraudsters are said to be colluding with some corrupt officials at the Ministry of Lands who forge documents to show that they are the real owners of the land with others going to the extent of selling one piece of land to multiple people who later begin a tussle for the same land with each person claiming ownership of the land. Others use the delay tactic especially ranching societies and companies selling huge chunks of land to con people by pretending they are processing tittle deeds and telling people they will subdivide the land once the title deeds are out only for them to varnish in the air.
Land experts are urging people to be vigilant especially when purchasing lands from individuals to avoid backtracks and calling on people to always involve a lawyer or trusted third party when making deposits to avoid being conned and visit both spouses to enquire if both agree to sell the land.
Other precautions one should use is to visit the piece of land under sale and enquire from neighbours on the ownership of the land, search for the title deed at the Ministry of Lands, visiting the District Land Control Board. People are encouraged to seek lawyers when purchasing land and to make payments only based on written agreements and not verbal agreements.
The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press