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Understand that agreement before you sign it: Part 1

I signed that agreement and I never really understood most of the clauses therein. This is a common issue with most land purchasers. Did you know in the unlikely event of failure to complete a land purchase transaction and in the event of failure to resolve amicably any issues that may arise, the recourse the purchaser or the seller have will be based on the content of the agreement. Let us try and understand the contents of a standard sales agreement.

The agreement must have a vendor (seller) and a purchaser and either could be an individual or a company. The agreement will not only quote the name (s) of the vendor / purchaser but also mention successors in title, assigns and personal representatives. These are parties to the agreement. Who are these? Successors in title basically mean the successive owners of the titled land. Assigns are third parties to whom the vendor / purchaser would transfer all of the rights and obligations he/she has. A personal representative is ordinarily an executor for the estate of a deceased person who left a will or the administrator of an intestate estate. Take note that all these parties are bound by the agreement you are signing.

The agreement will further mention the Land Registration (LR) number, commonly referred to as the title number of the parcel in question, its area (approximate) & tenancy (freehold or lease). In the case of a lease the agreement will quote the lease period.

The agreement will further quote the Purchase price and terms of payment. Ordinarily, a payment of 10% on execution of the agreement will be paid by the purchaser. However, this may vary depending on what the two parties have agreed. The agreement will mention the completion period and in most cases give room for extension of the period as long as the parties agree and do so in writing.

It will further list the completion documents as below (if it is an individual buying and an individual selling):

  1. Original Title in the name of the Vendor
  2. Consent necessary for transfer
  3. Duly executed transfer forms in triplicate
  4. 3 Passport Photos of the Vendor
  5. Copy of Pin Number of the Vendor
  6. Copy of National ID of the Vendor
  7. Rates Clearance Certificate (In Case the tenancy of the land is leasehold)
  8. Rent Clearance Certificate (In Case the tenancy of the land is leasehold)
  9. Valuation form duly filled

In the case the vendor/purchaser is a Company, then some additional documents will be required as below:

  1. 3 photos each of the 2 directors of the company executing the transfer
  2. Copies of PINS and ID copies for 2 directors executing the transfer.
  3. Copy of the registration Certificate if it’s a company.
  4. PIN Certificate of Company

There is this clause that goes like “The Property is sold with vacant possession which shall be given to the Purchasers by the Vendor against release of the full Purchase Price and apportionments (if any) to the Vendor.”

What does it mean?

Vacant possession: On completion of a sale, the seller is obliged to deliver the property with vacant possession which means clear of occupants and of any objects which are not included in the sale.

Apportionments: it refers to the allocation of property expenses such as insurance and taxes between the buyer and seller. Apportionment can also describe the division of property between tenants in common

Another clause will go like “The property is sold subject to all subsisting easements, quasi-easements and right of way if any, the acts reservation, special conditions and other matters if any attaching on the said property but otherwise free from any encumbrances.”

Let’s understand what these things mean:

Easements: The right of one party to use the property of another party. Easements are often applicable when public utility companies want the right to erect telephone poles, electricity poles or run water / sewer pipes either above or beneath private property.

Quasi easement: Similar to above but only applicable when a single owner has 2 or more adjoining plots. In this case, one or more parcels will be used to benefit the other (s). Notice how a quasi-easement becomes an easement upon the transfer of one or all of the parcels.

Right of way: It is basically the right to pass over property owned by another party. A good example would be KPLC power lines.

Special conditions: These apply especially in cases of leases. A lease is usually accompanied by special conditions which govern the lease.

Encumbrances: As earlier mentioned in another lesson, these will include restrictions, cautions, charges etc.

Take note that whenever you acquire that plot, you get it as is and consequently you inherit all of the above.

Next post we look at other agreement clauses including default clause, rescinding an agreement, certification of parties signing, validity of an agreement and disputes arbitration.

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