Help: My mpango bought me land in Kitengela, can he take it back?

Is it binding?
  • Faith was bought a plot in Kitengela as a Christmas gift by her married lover
  • She wanted to know what would happen should he demand back the plot in case they disagree
  • Well, a gift in real estate must be registered and signed by or on behalf of the donor and attested by at least two witnesses

Dear Harry,

My married lover bought me a plot in Kitengela as a Christmas gift. He knew that it has been my dream to save to buy a plot and eventually construct an affordable house.

However, I am just curious on whether the law provides for property gift and what would happen should he demand back the plot in case we disagree?

Faith, Nairobi

Dear Faith,

It is legal to give as a gift a house or plot out of your love and affection for the donee (beneficiary).

It is a general principle of law that acceptance of a gift must be made during the lifetime of the donor (giver).

However, a gift in real estate must be registered and signed by or on behalf of the donor and attested by at least two witnesses.

If the house or plot is registered, legal procedures – filing transfer forms and payment of stamp duty - must be followed for the gift to be effective.

Legally, a spouse can keep the gift of a house or plot as his/her personal property as long as it is registered under his/her name.

Similar principles of ownership apply to any beneficiary above the age of 18 years old. Trustees can manage the property on behalf of children until they clock 18.

But even as the wealthy shower loved ones with gifts, some of them renege when their relationships turn sour.

It is true that some relationships turn sour and people demand back property gifts they affectionately donated.

However, the givers of the gifts often lose the property disputes especially if the beneficiary registered the property under his/her name.

Recently, High Court Justice Luka Kimaru stopped a man from reclaiming a property he bought and registered under the name of his ex-lover.

According to the case, the man had fathered two children with the wife of another person and bought her the multi-million shilling property.

Justice Kimaru ruled that although the beneficiary was someone else's wife, the gift bought and registered under her name by her lover was her legal property!

Harry Ayodo is a practicing attorney of the High Court of Kenya and an employee of the Law Society of Kenya

 

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