LAUNCH OF THE NATIONAL LANDS INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (NLIMS)
Following our Newsflash on 9 March 2021, the new NLIMS is now live. The Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning and the Cabinet Secretary, Ms. Farida Karoney have provided a series of updates in respect of NLIMS on official social media. Among the updates is that the registration of customers on the platform has since begun and the final touches on the system are being put in place. However, there is still yet to be a formal announcement that the system is open for use.
Professionals involved land transactions (Advocates, Licensed Surveyors, Registered Physical Planner, and Registered County Physical Planners) and land owners have been encouraged to familiarize themselves with the new portal and review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) section to get a clearer understanding of the new system’s capabilities. Our review of the site indicates that professions will have upgraded accounts that will allow them to initiate particular land transactions. Advocates for instance will be able to initiate the process of cautions, charges, long term leases, registration of personal representatives as executors/administrators and transfers electronically, in line with the provisions of the Land Registration (Electronic Transactions) Regulations, 2020.
To log-in and access the portal, one needs their national identification card number and a recent passport photo similar to the e-citizen system. Companies can register on the system as well by using their company registration numbers. The FAQ’s on the portal are unclear whether the registration extends to other incorporated entities such as limited liability partnerships (LLPs). Given that law firms may be incorporated as LLPs and will be directly involved in transactions on the portal, we recommend that provisions for such accounts be made, in addition to individual Advocate accounts.
There are a number of security features that have been incorporated in the system to prevent fraudulent transactions in land. We understand that no land transaction (including searches) can be conducted on a property without the owner’s prior consent. Once a transaction is initiated, it will trigger the system to notify the registered owner to provide authorization for the transaction to be conducted on their property.
Furthermore, property owners are empowered to approve transactions once notified. We anticipate however, that these approvals may not apply to all transactions. For example, approving a forced sale under a statutory power of sale or registration of a caution against property would not be practicable.
The migration to electronic registration of land transactions will be done progressively and had begun with the Nairobi Lands Registry (i.e. titles under the Registered Lands Act regime), which is now fully digitized. As such, manual transactions (including payments) shall no longer occur in this registry. The Nairobi Central Registry is expected to follow, and is said to be near full digitization.