Things to know about new land titles in Rwanda

On 9 January 2023 at 11:41

Today, Rwandans can have their land registered online without necessity to go to land registrars’ offices. The move follows the launch of the electronic certificate of land registration or land title, known as “e-Title”, by the Government of Rwanda, effective 6th January 2023.

The development is expected to eliminate the necessity for physical land title deeds to citizens and other institutions requiring them to serve citizens.

The Minister of Local Government, Jena Claude Musabyimana recently said that the digital land title will make land related services more efficient.

“Technology reduces the process and time required to get services. It also enhances transparency in service delivery and reduces related cost to citizens and the government,” he said.

“The introduction of electronic land title is a great milestone in land services because it is part of the government’s plan to help citizens get the most needed services online without need to make walks,” added Musabyimana.

He explained that the electronic land title comes to expedite services delivery and reduce related cost as the price for printing will no longer be a prerequisite.

This article focuses on main things Rwandans and land buyers in Rwanda need to know on the issuance of e-Title deeds.

For far too long, the country has been issuing land titles in non-digital format; on printed certificates, which is costly due to high printing expenses, and paperwork.

There was also the possibility of fraud or loss of land titles and damage due to numerous reasons. These are among problems the new digital land title comes to address.

What is the E-Title?

E-Title is an electronic record of land ownership given to the individual seeking to get his/her parcel registered. It is issued via laptop or phone without necessity to pick printed certificates as it happened in the past.

The certificate comes to reinforce the digitization of land services and make them accessible to beneficiaries at their fingertips without incurring much expense.

The decree No 1/NLA/2022 of 21 October 2022, regarding the electronic land title published in the Official Gazette No 43 of 24 October 2022, determines the processes through which it will be issued and monitored.

After applying for land registration, the dossier will transferred to the land registrar through sector, district land registration office or licensed private notary.

After accepting the request and signing the land title deed, the applicant will receive a notification that his/her application has been processed and get a link through which the electronic land title can be downloaded via laptop or phone.

Who is the beneficiary of electronic land title?

The electronic land title deed will be offered to all individuals requesting the service, be it the person seeking the land ownership for the first time or making any adjustments at the registrar’s office.

How individuals without phones or internet will access the land title?

Individuals without mobile phones will seek assistance from land registrars in sectors or district where the land is located to get their land title deeds printed. They will also be able to get the services from Irembo Agents in the near future.

People with unconnected phones will receive a short message that their application has been approved and get a link through which they can download the soft copy assisted by Irembo Agents or other persons with access to internet.

Can anyone print a land title belonging to others?

Only a land registrar is allowed to print the electronic land title for individuals without phones or others experiencing hurdles to print them. No one else can do so unless he/she gets a go ahead from the land owner.

To print the electronic land title, one needs the Unique Parcel Identifier (UPI), the identity card of the land owner and phone number registered on his/her names.

While printing the electronic certificate, the land owner receives a code enabling him/her to proceed.

This means, printing the certificate requires the land owner to be present or share the received code.

Importance of the electronic title deed

The electronic land certificate will eliminate costs associated with walks to sector or district offices to pick the hard copy.

Land owners will no longer have worries over lost or damaged documents as they can access the soft copies from wherever at any time.

On behalf of the government, it will eliminate the cost of printing paper-based documents.

The time spent to get final copies of land titles will be dedicated to other services.

The electronic land certificate will also enhance transparency and curb fraudsters who would forge documents. Among others, it will reduce illegal land ownership transfers.

Are paper-based land titles becoming obsolete?

Land titles issued before will remain relevant as long as contained information matches with records of the land registrar.

Electronic land titles are expected to deter fraud and improve efficiency.
Rwanda launched electronic land registration system effective 6th January 2023.