Owning land in Kenya can be an exciting undertaking. It is a source of joy and a step towards securing your family’s future. As a landowner, you need to ensure that the documentation is right and that you adhere to all the set rules and regulation.
One such regulation is paying your land rates in time. This article offers you a guide on how to pay your land rates, the difference between land rates and land rent, and the different options you can use to pay your land rates.
What are land rates?
Land rates can be defined as the tax the government imposes on land. The amount to be paid often varies depending on the market value of the land.
Generally, the value of land appreciates as it is serviced with amenities that may include water, streetlights, sewerage system, and better roads.
As the value of the land appreciates, the amount of rates levied on the land also increases.
Just like other types of taxes, land rates are a mean of government financing. In Kenya, land rates are collected by the county. What this means is that the rates on plots are to be paid to the county the plot is located. This applies to land on freehold and on leasehold.
It is worth noting, however, that not all landowners are obligated to pay land rates in Kenya. To be on the safe side, you need to check this with your county government ministry of land.
Land rates and land rent
First-time landowner might find it hard to differentiate between lands rates and land rent. Though some people use the words interchangeably, the two are actually not the something.
While land rates are charged on each parcel of land and payable to the county government, land rent is imposed on leasehold parcels and is paid to the ministry of land and physical planning. Land rents are reserved at the time the grant is being issued.
While the county government issues a rates clearance certificate as evidence of payment of land rates, the ministry of land issues a rent clearance certificate as evidence of payment of land rent.
Land rates payment options
Though the government is adopting online methods to streamline payment and delivery of services, landowners can use other land rates payment options.
Apart from using the online payment platform, you can also pay using:
- County government cash office. This is the oldest payment option. It is used by most of the countries across the country. When using this option, make sure you are given a receipt and that the payment is done in the right way.
- Bank deposit it the other payment option you can use. With this option, you can make an interbank transfer or deposit directly to the county government banks account. If you choose this option, make sure to indicate the correct account details.
You should be able to find the account name, branch name, and the account number of your county on their individual websites.
- Online payment option. This is the most convenient option for both land rent and land rates payment. You are required to register for the service before using it. Those in Nairobi can register using their mobile phone or using the county’s online portal.
How to pay your land rates online in Nairobi
To pay your land rates online in Nairobi, you will first need to register with e-jiji payment service. You can do this through Nairobi county online portal or using the USSD *217# on your phone.
After registering on the online payment platform:
- i) Log into your account
- ii) Find the land search option by clicking on the ministry of land and urban housing
iii) You will be prompted to enter your title number. Complete the form submit it
- iv) Confirm your details and make the payment for the required amount
- v) If the payment is successful, you will have the option of printing the payment slip.
Land rate waiver in Kenya
Though property owners are obligated to pay rates based on the market value of their properties, most default, making the counties grapple with huge debts.
The county government imposes penalties and interest to those who fail to remit their land rates on time.
Land rates waivers in Kenya acts a way of whitelisting rates defaulters to entice them to pay.
It is aimed at helping the counties collect on default rates, which is said to be the main reason for poor revenue collection, by most counties.
A Land rates waiver often apply for a short period and often affects a certain percentage of the penalties and accrued interest. At times, the county may offer up to 100% waiver on penalties.
As a property owner, you risk being denied loans by major financial institutions for defaulting on your land rates. To avoid all this, pay your land rates in time, in most cases, this is before the end of a county’s financial year (before the end of June)