Owning land in Kenya According to Kenya Land Laws

Forms of Tenure

5. (1) There shall be the following forms of land tenure-
(a) freehold;
(b) leasehold;
(c) such forms of partial interest as may be defined under this Act and other law, including but not limited to easements; and
(d) customary land rights, where consistent with the Constitution.

(2) There shall be equal recognition and enforcement of land rights arising under all tenure systems and non-discrimination in ownership of, and access to land under all tenure systems.

Methods of acquisition of title to land
In Kenya, title to land may be acquired through:
(a) allocation;
(b) land adjudication process;
(c) compulsory acquisition;
(d) prescription;
(e) settlement programs;
(f) transmissions;
(g) transfers;
(h) long term leases exceeding twenty one years created out of private land; or
(i)    any other manner prescribed in an Act of Parliament.

Conversion of land
9. (1) Any land may be converted from one category to another in accordance with the provisions of this Act or any other written law.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1)―
(a) public land may be converted to private land by alienation;
(b) subject to public needs or in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, or land use planning, public land may be converted to community land;
(c) private land may be converted to public land by―
(i) compulsory acquisition;
(ii) reversion of leasehold interest to Government after the expiry of a lease; and
(iii) transfers; or
(iv) surrender.
(d) Community land may be converted to either private or public land in accordance with the law relating to community land enacted pursuant to Article 63(5) of the Constitution.

(3) Any substantial transaction involving the conversion of public land to private land shall require approval by the National Assembly or county assembly as the case may be.

(4) The Commission shall cause a register to be kept containing the following particulars–
(a) public land converted to private land by alienation;
(b) names and addresses of all persons whose land has converted to public land through compulsory acquisition or reversion of leasehold;
(c) community land converted to either private or public ;and
(d) such other details as the Commission may direct.

(5) The Commission may make rules for the better carrying out of the provisions of this section, and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the rules may provide for the following—
(a) prescribing substantial transactions requiring approval of the National Assembly or the County Assembly as the case may be;
(b) prescribing anything required to be prescribed under this section;
(c) regulating and controlling the conversion of land from one category to another;
(d) prescribing the factors to be applied or taken into account in determining land that is to be converted.

(6) Rules made under this section may contain—
(a) different provisions for different parts of Kenya;
(b) different provisions for different categories of conversion or kinds of transactions; or
(c) exemptions or conditional exemptions from the operation of any rule made under this section.

(7) Any Rules made by the Commission under subsection (5) shall be tabled before Parliament for approval.

Licence for temporary purposes
20. (1) The Commission may grant a person a licence to use unalienated public land for a period not exceeding five years subject to planning principles as it may prescribe.
(2) The Commission may serve a notice to quit upon the licensee at any time after the expiration of nine months from the date of the licence.
(3) The fee payable under a licence under this section, the period and the agreements and conditions of the licence, shall be prescribed by the Commission.
(4) The licensee may, with the consent of the Commission, transfer the benefit of a licence under this section, and the transfer and the consent thereto shall be endorsed on the licence.

Transfers
43. (1) In this Part, “transfer” includes a conveyance, an assignment, a transfer of land, a transfer of lease or other instrument used in the disposition of an interest in land by way of transfer.
(2) A proprietor may transfer land, a lease or a charge to any person (including himself or herself), with or without consideration, by an instrument in the prescribed form.
(3) The transfer shall be completed by the registration of the transferee as proprietor of the land, lease or charge.
(4) The transferee of a charge may require the chargor to execute the transfer for the purpose of acknowledging the amount due under the charge at the date of execution of the transfer.

Transfer to take effect immediately
44. A transfer shall not be expressed to take effect on the happening of any event or on the fulfillment of any condition or at any future time.

Transfer of leases
45. On the transfer of a lease, unless the contrary is expressed in the transfer, there shall be implied—
(a) a warranty on the part of the transferor that the rent, agreements and conditions on the part of the lessee to be paid, performed and observed have been so paid, performed and observed up to the date specified in the transfer or, if no such date is specified, the date of the transfer; and
(b) an agreement on the part of the transferee to pay the said rent as from the day following the date specified in the transfer or the date of the transfer, as the case may be, and to perform and observe the said agreements and conditions.

Effect of transfer on agreement in leases
46. (1) A transfer from a lessor or from a lessee shall possess all the rights, and be subject to all the liabilities, of the lessor or lessee, as the case may be, expressed or implied in the lease, or arising or which have arisen thereunder, and the transferee shall cease to be under any obligation or possessed of any rights in respect of the lease subject to subsection (2).
(2) Nothing in this section shall affect the rights or liabilities of the lessor or lessee, as the case may be, in respect of a breach of any of the agreements expressed or implied in a lease that occurred before the transfer.

Transfer subject to charge
47. In every transfer of land or a lease subject to a charge, there shall be an implied agreement by the transferee with the transferor to pay the interest, where applicable, secured by the charge.

Transfer subject to lease.
48. A transfer of land that is subject to a lease shall be valid without the lessee acknowledging the transferee as lessor, but nothing in this section—
(a) affects the validity of any payment of rent made by the lessee to the transferor; or
(b) renders the lessee liable, for failure to pay rent to the transferee, for any breach of agreement to pay rent, before notice of the transfer is given to the lessee by the transferee.

Source: Kenya Land Act, 2012