Owning land in Kenya is an exciting endeavor, representing a significant step towards securing your family’s future. However, being a landowner comes with responsibilities, including ensuring correct documentation and compliance with regulations.
One crucial regulation is the timely payment of land rates. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to pay your land rates in Kenya, highlights the difference between land rates and land rent, and explores various payment options.
What are Land Rates?
Land rates refer to the tax imposed by the government on land, with the amount varying based on the land’s market value. The appreciation of land value is influenced by amenities such as water, streetlights, sewerage systems, and better roads.
In Kenya, land rates are collected by the county government, making it imperative to pay them to the county where the plot is located, regardless of whether it is freehold or leasehold. However, not all landowners are obligated to pay land rates, and it’s advisable to check with the county government’s Ministry of Land for clarification.
Difference Between Land Rates and Land Rent in Kenya
First-time landowners might find it challenging to distinguish between land rates and land rent. Although some use the terms interchangeably, they are distinct.
Land rates, also known as property rates, refer to the taxes levied by local governments on the capital value of developed properties. These rates are primarily intended to fund public services and infrastructure within the municipality, such as roads, waste management, and community facilities.
On the other hand, land rent pertains to payments made by individuals or entities to the government for the use of public land. It is a form of lease payment for land allocated by the government for specific purposes, such as agriculture, commercial activities, or residential development.
Payment Options for Land Rates
While the government is embracing online payment methods, landowners can still choose from various payment options:
1. **County Government Cash Office:** The traditional payment option is used across the country. Ensure you receive the receipt and follow the correct payment procedure.
2. **Bank Deposit:** Make interbank transfers or deposit directly into the county government’s bank account. Verify and provide accurate account details available on the county’s website.
3. **Online Payment:** The most convenient option for both land rent and land rates. Register for the service before use, either through USSD *217# or the county’s online portal.
How to Pay Land Rates Online in Nairobi
1. Register with the e-jiji payment service through Nairobi County’s online portal or USSD *647#.
2. Log into your account.
3. Find the land search option under the Ministry of Land and Urban Housing.
4. Enter your title number and complete the form.
5. Confirm your details and make the payment.
6. Upon successful payment, you can print the payment slip.
Land Rate Waiver in Kenya
Property owners are obligated to pay rates based on their property’s market value, but many default, leading to significant debts for counties.
To encourage payments, counties may offer land rate waivers for a limited time, often affecting a percentage of penalties and accrued interest. Failure to pay land rates on time may result in penalties and interest, impacting property owners’ creditworthiness.
To avoid such consequences, it is crucial to pay land rates before the end of the country’s financial year, usually before the end of June.
Owning land in Kenya is a significant investment, and understanding the intricacies of land rates and payment options is crucial for every landowner.
By ensuring timely payments and compliance with regulations, you not only contribute to the development of your community but also secure the future of your property and family.