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She built her dream house on her neighbors’ land….

Yesterday I went to value a property in Nyahururu. As usual, I carried my tape measure, camera and a map of the parcel that I had gone to inspect. I didn’t carry my scale rule as I should, coz in the past I have not really had to use it in Nyahururu. After all , the smaller the luggage, the better for me since I was using public transport.
When I arrived in Nyahururu town, I met with my client and we went ahead to board a matatu to “mairu inya” where the property is. I was in a bit of a hurry since I had promised my wife that I would be home early. Nyahururu is 3 hours away from Nairobi…making a return trip to be 6 hours. The matatu to mairu inya took what looked like a life time to fill up. Mairu Inya is not very far from Nyahururu town, actually, the name of the town indicates that its 4 miles from Nyahururu town.
When we alighted, we walked quite fast to the property. My client opened the gate and as I took out my tools of trade, I noticed that something was amiss. The property was on the 6th plot from the junction while on the map my clients plot was on the 4th plot. I asked my client to accompany me to the junction so we could count the plots again.
She was shocked to find that the map and her plot were not tallying. She tried to explain to me that she uses her neighbors plot to locate hers. I went ahead to explain to her that when we were learning algebra in school, we were taught that we start from the known going to the unknown. In our case, what was known was the junction. What was unknown was the plot. From the map, the subject plot was the 4th plot, so we counted 4 plots and landed on a plot that was developed by a neighbor.
The plots were 1/8 acres each. This translates to (50 * 100) feet or (16m * 33M). The width of the plots was 16Meters. Since the subject plot was the 4th plot, we needed to add 16M from the first 3 plots to land on the 4th plot. One meter is approximately equal to one stride. 16M for 3 plots is equal to 16*3=48M. That’s 48 strides or let’s say 50 strides since all our strides are not the same. We counted the strides and we landed on the 4th plot.
The last test was to ask a neighbor what the LR NO (Land Registration Number) of his land. He told us and when we looked at the map, it confirmed that my hypothesis was accurate.
This entire process took us like 1 hour but it was well worth it. My client, a lady in her early 50s went ahead to tell me the history of the land. She told me that the land was owned by an old man who passed on about 4 years ago. When the former owner of the land passed on, her widow told my client to confirm the authenticity of her land….which my client did by doing a search and making sure that she was up to date with payment of land rates. It appears this widow knew something that my client didn’t know. The truth of the matter is that the former owner of this land, the deceased, had a large parcel of land which he subdivided into 10 plots but he also subdivided his neighbors land and sold it to un suspecting locals. You see, the deceased subdivided his land into parcels number 0-9. This meant 5 parcels on either side of the feeder roads. What he also did was subdivide his neighbors land and showed my client and 3 other persons that those were the rightful plots.

What this therefore means is that my client has built her retirement house valued at about Kshs 2million on another person’s land while her land is occupied by someone else.

The solution: Since the house cannot be moved, my client is to discuss with the owner of the land where her house sits and buy off that part of the land from him. She shall also talk to her neighbor who has occupied her land to buy it off and then there will be peace and harmony. Once they have done that, they can call me to value the correct property.


Kariuki Waweru

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