4 Vital Roles of a Property Advocate

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conveyancing lawyer

You’ve probably heard this public pegged misconception: the legal aspect of owning property in Kenya is an undemanding exercise. Incorrect!

Property investment is significant because you want to make the right decisions when it comes to spending your money. For this reason, having an adept conveyancing lawyer is the rational thing to do. They will give also give you investment tips to help you get value for your money.

So, are you shopping for advocate representation? Here are tips to help you find the right one. 

Advocate Specialisation: Scout for an Advocate who is a conveyancing law specialist with vast experience in property transactions. An advocate who is a jack of all trades will not give you value for money because they will have other matters to handle such as being in court or settlements. They will not handle your issue with the urgency and decorum it deserves.

Law Society of Kenya: When doing an online search, look for an advocate through their website online.lsk.or.ke to confirm that your he/she is an active member of the society, their physical address, years of practice and their specialization of work.

A good advocate issues proper legal advice and representation in the entire purchase process hence avoiding unnecessary pitfalls and deal with cons. A referral from your network can come in handy if the referred Advocate has successfully transacted for them before.

Once you have found an advocate, here are the tasks and role he must play help you complete the buying property transaction sale.

The Manager

property advocate

Your Advocate is the person who will interact with all the people involved in the transaction process. He will liaise (physically and electronically) with the Seller’s Advocate, Seller’s Agent, Financier, Local Authority, Valuer, Surveyor, Property Manager and Physical Planner extensively.

The Researcher

Your Advocate will conduct due diligence and get all the information relating to the property you are buying. He should get a copy of the title and National Identity Card of the seller. He should then conduct the requisite searches both for the property at the lands office and also of the person named in the title as the registered owner at the Registration of Persons Bureau. A search at the company registry should be undertaken if the person selling the property is a company. This will confirm that the purported seller of the property is either the real owner or an impostor. It will also confirm the nature of the title, its tenure and any encumbrances, restrictions or prohibitions on the property.

Other duties will include;

a) Confirming the proposed use of the property (relevant to planning, zoning, survey, valuation and development, policy legislation and any restrictions that may affect the proposed user).

b) Confirming the seller’s documentation in full: addresses, telephone contacts and the advocates representing them.

c) If there is more than one buyer, he will advise on co-ownership and joint ownership.

d) Finding out how your purchase will be financed and the likely completion date of the transaction.

e) Confirming the property occupant (relevant third party rights and vacant possession)

f) Ensuring all outgoing costs (rates, service charge, rent, electricity and water) owed by the Seller to the relevant authorities are settled.

g) Making sure there is no conflict of interest in the purchase.

If the search results are satisfactory, he should check that the land is on the Ndungu Land Report under the section on illegal and irregularly allocated property.

The Adviser 

property advocate

Your Advocate will advise you on the consequential results of the due diligence and the way forward. He must make you aware of the important dates during the course of your agreement. If it is not possible to meet a deadline, he will negotiate for more time so that you can meet any necessary requirements.

Your property advocate will help you to end the contract if there will be any need to end it. If there are any issues with the last inspections, your Advocate will negotiate on the remaining work needed from the seller. On occasion, he will negotiate holding of the funds in the event that the property needs any repairs or reduce the price because of the repairs.

If the ownership of a property moves to a company, family trust or a partnership, he should advise on the ownership structure. Sometimes, he will give advice on a couple that wants to own property jointly. Your Advocate should be able to explain to you what you need to do in terms of meeting the bank’s requirements and how the process of lending works.  

The Custodian and Transactor

property advocate

A property advocate must oversee the transfer process to a satisfactory completion of the purchase. He must put together the purchase price and outgoing costs in the Advocate’s trust account on time. If you want a mortgage, he should communicate with your financier and ensure that you meet the requirements to help you get the mortgage on the completion date.

Your Advocate will prepare, review, amend and attest the Agreement for Sale and Transfer documents executed by you. He will then arrange to transfer the deposit of the purchase price, ownership details of the property into your names, and advice on stamp duty payable (normally 4% of the purchase sum or 2% for freehold/agricultural land) together with any outgoing costs. Thereafter, he will transfer the balance of the purchase price to the seller, give you together with the financier an updated copy of the title certificate and the mortgage. Lastly, he must arrange for the handover in liaison with the Vendor’s Agent.

These tips will help you see the importance of getting an Advocate to help with the property transaction. At Adelante Legal, you will find experienced property Advocates who will handle and all your property investment requirements.

Elvis Andiva
Elvis is a Partner at Adelante Legal LLP, a consortium of Adelante Group Limited. His area of practice specialization is Property Law and is currently a member of the Law Society of Kenya. He is also a member of the Law Society of Kenya’s Committee on Environment, Land and Conveyancing..