Indonesia’s National Land Agency has issued guidelines for land freezes and land seizures and how individuals and companies can initiate such actions.
Head of National Land Agency Regulation No. 13 of 2017 regarding Procedures for Land Freeze and Land Seizure (“Reg. 13/2017”) is intended to cover all the different land freeze and land seizure procedures previously governed by several different regulations. These previous regulations include Head of National Land Agency Regulation No. 1 of 2010 regarding Standard of Land Service and Management; Head of National Land Agency Regulation No. 4 of 2010 regarding Procedures for the Control of Abandoned Land; and Minister of Agrarian Affairs/Head of National Land Agency Regulation No. 11 of 2016 regarding Land Dispute Settlement.
We will discuss some of the main points of Reg. 13/2017 regarding the procedures for land freezes and land seizures.
A land freeze is a temporary legal restraint issued by the head of the relevant Land Office on any legal action or legal event involving or affecting that land, including a temporary freeze on the sale or transfer of such land. A land freeze may be issued in cases where a land dispute or conflict arises, either criminal or civil in nature. During the time that a land freeze is in effect, no changes can be made to the information of the land in question, including changes to land titles or ownership, registrations, etc.
A land freeze may be initiated by (i) individuals or incorporated entities; (ii) law enforcers; or (iii) the head of the relevant Land Office.
Individuals or incorporated entities can initiate a land freeze based on a legal connection to the land in question. The land freeze is valid for 30 days and can be extended by court order or a court decision. Law enforcers may invoke a land freeze in the event of a criminal investigation or prosecution, and the land freeze will remain valid until the relevant criminal case has been concluded or at the request of law enforcers. And the head of a Land Office can issue a freeze for the purpose of settling a strategic land dispute or a land dispute with potential national implications, or for the purpose of taking control of abandoned land. Such land freeze will remain valid until the land dispute is settled.
There are four steps to initiate a land freeze. The first step is the submission of an application and the required accompanying documents to the local Land Office. Second, the local Land Office will determine whether all the required documents have been submitted and are in order. Third, the applicant will pay a fee for the land freeze assessment and record keeping. The fourth and final step, after the required documents and fee have been received, the local Land Office will assess the applicant’s claimed grounds for a land freeze and then approve or deny the request. If the land freeze is granted, it will be recorded by the head of the local Land Office.
A land seizure is a measure by the head of the relevant Land Office that involves the recordation of any seizures authorized by judicial institutions, investigators or other authorities. Titles over seized land cannot be transferred or mortgaged. However, they can be extended, amended or made the subject of mortgage discharge applications or roya. Land seizures cannot be imposed upon any state/regional assets.
There are three types of land seizure, i.e. (i) civil seizure, (ii) criminal seizure and (iii) tax seizure. Civil seizure is invoked over a land title that is the object of a court case. A civil seizure will remain valid until a final and binding court decision revokes or annuls the seizure. A criminal seizure is carried out in connection with an ongoing investigation and will remain valid until the criminal case has been closed based on an investigation termination warrant or a final and binding court decision. A tax seizure involves the seizure of a land title in connection with a tax debt. A tax seizure will remain valid until the taxpayer settles any remaining tax arrears, a court order is issued or a decision is rendered by a tax dispute settlement body.
The process for initiating a land seizure is similar to that for a land freeze. An application and accompanying documents are submitted to the local Land Office, which will determine if all the required documents have been submitted in full. The applicant will pay a fee for the assessment and record keeping, the Land Office will then conduct an assessment and, if the land seizure is granted, such land seizure will be recorded by the head of the local Land Office.
Provisions relating to land freeze and land seizure procedures in previous regulations, i.e. Head of National Land Agency Regulation No. 1 of 2010 regarding Standard of Land Service and Management, Head of National Land Agency Regulation No. 4 of 2010 regarding Procedure for the Control of Abandoned Land, and Minister of Agrarian Affairs/Head of National Land Agency Regulation No. 11 of 2016 regarding Land Dispute Settlement, will remain valid as long as they are in accordance with Reg. 13/2017.