How to Obtain a Certificate of Occupation in Kenya

Table of contents

  1. What is a certificate of Occupation?
  2. When is a certificate of occupation issued?
  3. Why is the certificate necessary?
  4. Procedure to obtain Certificate of Occupation in Kenya

What is a Certificate of Occupation?

The Certificate of Occupation/ Occupancy or Occupation permit in Kenya is a legal document usually issued by a local government agency or the housing/building department declaring a building’s compliance with relevant building codes and other laws, and indicating it to be in a condition suitable for human habitation.

When is an Occupation Certificate issued?

This certificate is normally issued once the construction of a development is complete. It is considered a part of the building approval process.

A new Certificate of Occupation (C of O) may be required if the occupancy classification of a building, or portion of a building, is changed. For example, an old house turning into an office building will have to apply for change of occupancy from residential to office building. This is commonly referred to as change of use or change of occupancy.

Sometimes this review may result in a Zoning Compliance Certificate instead of a new Certificate of Occupancy.

A new C of O can only be issued following the issuance of a building permit and performance of inspections to assure compliance with the current codes governing the proposed occupancy.

Why is the certificate necessary?

The purpose of obtaining a certificate of occupancy is to prove that, according to the law, the house or building is in livable condition.

As a building owner, you may find a certificate of occupancy necessary when you need to sale or take a mortgage on a house. As well as when you need to occupy the house for everyday living, in instances when you have done your own construction.

Every prospective buyer and/or tenants should insist on seeing the occupation certificate from the building owner. They should confirm its authenticity by cross-checking with the lands ministry.

Procedure to obtain Certificate of Occupation in Kenya

The process to obtain a certificate of occupancy varies depending on the building or structure in question.

For the remaining part of this article we shall concentrate on how to obtain a C of O for a new build.

It is the responsibility of the developer to obtain the certificate of occupation, once the project has been completed.

Required Documents – Certificate of Occupancy in Kenya

Checklist showing requirements for certificate of occupation
Requirements for approval of occupation certificate. Image c/o Integrum

The Applicant should purchase a form from the Land use and Administration Committee (LAC) or Obtain application form (hard copy) from the Ministry, (Land Use and Allocation Section) or any of its field offices in other districts.

Step 1: Lodging the application

After filling the form, the applicant should submit the application back to the Land Use Administration committee (LAC) and collect an acknowledgement slip as evidence of payment.

A complete application form should be returned accompanied with

  • The root of title to the subject parcel of land
  • Three copies of the survey plan
  • Your tax clearance certificate for three years or evidence of being domiciled outside Kenya
  • There copies of your passport photographs
  • Official receipt for the application fee of Ksh.50. (Residential) land use) or Ksh. 2, 000 for (Commercial land use).
  • Your telephone number and or your email address
  • Fees for advertising on the Kenyan observer paid directly to the Land Use and Administration committee of the Ministry

The application will be advertised on the Kenya Observer (in batches). If no objection to the grant of the certificate of occupancy is received within the 21 days statutory waiting period, your application will be processed by the relevant departments of the Ministry.

Step 3: Endorsement, Stamping and Signing

The next step is to pay for the Allocated land within a period of ninety days. On payment of the prescribed fees, your Certificate of Occupancy will be prepared and forwarded to Authority of the county for endorsement.

The document is then sent to the Kenya Revenue office for stamp duty stamping.

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