About the Department of Urban Development


  • To manage national housing legal framework
  • To provide adequate and suitable office and housing accommodation to government and public servants throughout Malawi.
  • To facilitate access to affordable, safe secure urban housing for all income groups.
  • To create an enabling environment to encourage investment in urban housing by local and foreign investors.  
  • To facilitate the provision of quality, cost effective and timely built and environment infrastructure and management of government buildings.
  • To Coordinate human settlements with international organizations

Department of Housing has five sections namely;

  1. Management and support services
  2. Rural Housing Development
  3. Home ownership Scheme
  4. Urban Housing
  5. Estate Management and Valuation


Ensure creation of the most economically successful and socially integrated urbanizing systems in Malawi.


The goal is to provide direction to processes of infrastructure development that supports socio-economic and industrial development with special emphasis on seven prioritized urban development themes namely: aesthetics, city marketing, transport and road infrastructure, power and water provision, economic development, job creation, and sanitation.

Medium Term Expected Outcome

Improved and sustainable system of local authorities and urbanizing systems providing their own utilities, transportation, production and export capability.




  • Provide efficient and effective estate management agency services to government ministries, departments, parastatals and general public.
  • Efficient and effective property management of the assets of the public housing development treasury fund and the United Nations housing treasury fund to sustain the performance of the housing units.
  • To manage government leased properties to ensure compliance of covenants by the landlord and government as the tenant.
  • To provide efficient and effective valuation services to government ministries, departments ,parastatals ad general public.

Responsibilities of Valuation Services;

The roles of Valuation Section include:

Carrying out assessment of land and properties to determine value for compensation payments by Government; and

Provides valuation services to the public, City and District Councils, National Roads Authority, other government departments and the private sector. This valuation is done on properties for purposes of:

  •   Compensation assessment;
  •   Land rent assessment;
  •   City/Town rates calculation; and
  •   Reserve prices determination.

The Valuation Services section offers the following services;

  • Land and property assessment for various purposes i.e. compulsory purchase, inventory, reserve prices;
  • Fixing and reviewing land rent;
  • Formulation and execution of government valuation policy of all kinds of properties for different purposes;  and
  • Advising government on existing and proposed relevant legislation on valuation.
  • Compensation and resettlement.

Purposes of Valuation

  • Property assessment for insurance
  • Capital valuation (Open Market Valuation)
  • Mortgage (loan Security)
  • Rating
  • Rent
  • Compensation (compulsory purchase)
  • Asset valuation 

The roles of the Legal Services Section are:

  •   Lease processing in respect of public and customary land;
  •   Deeds and title registration;
  •   Land acquisition;
  •   Settlement of land disputes;
  •   Reviewing policies and practices in land administration;
  •   Preparation of tenancy agreements for properties let out and rented by government; and
  •   Collection of Ground and land rent.

Most of the activities of this Section are demand driven depending on the prevailing land market and these include:

  •   Processing of leases;
  •   Approving land transactions;
  •   Issuing consents and certificates of compliance; and
  •   Enforcement of lease covenants.

Generally, the number of consents and certificates issued has increased in the Cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba. However, there has been a drop in the number of applications for land transactions in rural areas. This may be attributed to lack or decline of land market in rural areas due to the declining of tobacco industry.

The Legal Services section offers the following services;

  • Preparation of offer letters
  • Approving reserve prices when banks are exercising the power of sale
  • Lease processing;
  • Registration of various land transactions i.e. deeds and little registration; lease/land transfers, cautions, charges, assignments etc. 
  • Land acquisition;
  • Settlement of boundary and land disputes;
  • Reviewing policies and practices in land administration;
  • Preparing tenancy agreements for properties let and rented for and by government and 
  • Collection of land rent.
  • Advising the public on land law, policy and procedures  

The lease process under the Legal Services section;

People get a lease through the lease process and the following is the procedure for obtaining a lease from government;

  • Allocation of land by a chief (if customary land) or by government agencies Lands or district commissioner (if public land)
  • Completion of forms e.g.  Customary land consultation chief’s form in case of customary land, agricultural lease application form if the land is to be used for agricultural purpose and land application forms in case of public land.
  • Production of lease application forms and payment of lease application fee is at K5, 000.00.
  • The District Commissioner recommends the application to the regional commissioner for lands with a map attached
  • Where applicable indicating whether compensation is payable or not 
  • The Regional Commissioner consults the planning authorities to confirm land use and other environmental requirements
  • Ministerial Approval is sought and once granted, an offer of lease is made by the regional commissioner for lands and copies are sent to District Commissioner where required
  • The Offer Of Lease outlines the conditions of the lease e.g. permitted use
  • Acceptance of the offer of lease includes payment of fees and duties required including initial ground rent and compensation where necessary. the fees and duties are stamp duty, registration fee and lease fees
  • A request for a Cadastral Survey is made to the surveyor general where necessary for preparation of deed plans
  • A draft Lease Document is prepared in triplicates to be executed/signed by the two parties, stamped and registered by government
  • Upon being registered copies of the title deeds are distributed accordingly.
  • What remains is that the lease must be paying ground rent using the ground rent notice.

The Department of Lands derives its mandate from:

The Land Act, Cap. 57:01;

The Registered Land Act, Cap. 58:01;

The Lands Acquisition Act, Cap. 58:04;

The Adjudication of Titles Act, Cap. 58:05;

The Customary land (Development) Act, Cap. 59:01;

The Local Land Boards Act, Cap. 59:02; and

The Deeds Registration Act, Cap. 58:02.

These laws empower the Minister Responsible for Land Matters to administer and control lan