Indonesian Land Office Regulations and Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Legal Updates
Indonesian Land Office Regulations and Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic
5 May 2020

By Stephen Igor Warokka and Albertus Jonathan Sukardi

In response to the declaration of COVID-19 as a public health emergency and national disaster by the central government, and to implement social distancing requirments, the Indonesian Land Office (Badan Pertanahan Nasional/Kementerian Agraria dan Tata Ruang or \"BPN”) has issued policies to support physical distancing and help prevent and minimalize the spread of COVID-19.

Land Office Services Move Online

On March 20, 2020, the BPN issued Circular Letter Number 3/SE-100.TU.03/III/2020 on Land Services in the Context of Preventing the Spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (\"CL 3/2020”). The purpose of this circular letter is to implement social distancing while still providing land services.

In essence, CL 3/2020 obliges all land offices to adapt their provision of land services to local conditions. Generally, land offices must adhere to all regional policies, regulations and restrictions, and consider the severity of COVID-19 locally. Specifically, land offices are required to provide the following services via a website established by the BPN,

i. services related to Security Right (Hak Tanggungan) such as registration, assignment, deletion (roya), change of name and/or amendment of data;

ii. services related to Land Value Zone (Zona Nilai Tanah); and

iii. services related to land certificate examination for the issuance of a Land Registration Statement Letter (Surat Keterangan Pendaftaran Tanah).

However, these services cannot be accessed directly by members of the public. As confirmed by a BPN official, assistance from a local land deed official (Pejabat Pembuat Akta Tanah or \"PPAT”) or notary is required because they are the ones with user access to the BPN\'s website.

For other particular services deemed of special and dire necessity but not yet available through the BPN website, e.g. renewal or extension of land right certificates, CL 3/2020 provides that the services can still be provided by submitting the physical documents to the local land office in a closed plastic folder.

The applicant should also scan the documents and submit them to the local land office service center email address, stating the applicant's name, email address or telephone number. The land office will contact the applicant once the application file is examined. For this process, CL 3/2020 re-emphasizes the obligation to implement health and safety measures by both applicants and land office officials, e.g. wearing masks and gloves, and the sterilization of documents if necessary.

In addition, land offices will implement work from home policies with office shifts as necessary. CL 3/2020 mandates that services that require physical inspections, such as the re-measurement of land plots, will be temporarily halted or limited according to local conditions.

Initially, CL 3/2020 was only in effect until April 5, 2020. However, as confirmed by a Land Office official, the BPN issued a subsequent letter which states that CL 3/2020 will remain valid until the BPN issues a subsequent policy/decree with regard to the COVID-19 situation. As of this writing, we have not seen a copy of this letter.

The implementation of CL 3/2020 may differ from region to region due to factors including the unwritten policies of local land offices, the impact of COVID-19 locally and the readiness of local infrastructure.

BPN to Relax Expiry, Extension and Renewal of Land Rights

In addition to moving land services online, the BPN has relaxed the time for granting, extending or renewing expiring land rights. The new rules are contained in BPN Decree Number 88.1/SK-HR.01/IV/2020 dated April 16, 2020, regarding the Extension of the Validity of Land Rights and the Extension for the Registration of the Decree on the Granting, Extension or Renewal of Land Rights that Have Expired or Will Expire during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Emergency Period (\"Decree 88/2020”).

As background, Decree 88/2020 was issued following the stipulation of the COVID-19 outbreak as a public health emergency and non-natural national disaster. Decree 88/2020 was promulgated on April 16, 2020. However, its legal effect applies retroactively from March 31, 2020.

Decree 88/2020 extends the expiry date of land rights and the registration deadline for submitting the decree regarding the granting, extension or renewal of land rights, until December 31, 2020. This policy applies to all land rights with an expiry period, i.e. Right to Build (Hak Guna Bangunan or \"HGB”), Right of Cultivate (Hak Guna Usaha or \"HGU”) and Right to Use (Hak Pakai or \"HP”). It also applies to all decrees on the granting, extension or renewal of land rights that expire from March 31, 2020, onward during the COVID-19 emergency period. As of this writing, the COVID-19 public health emergency is still in effect.

Land right certificates and decrees that expired before March 31, 2020, are excluded from this relaxation policy.

Every land right holder and/or owner whose land right is granted an extension will have to submit their extension or renewal application to their local land office before December 31, 2020. Otherwise, their particular land right will end by law after December 31, 2020.

Land right holders and/or owners who have already acquired their decree on the granting, extension or renewal of their respective land right will have to register their decree with their local land office before December 31, 2020. Otherwise, the decree in question will be null and void and the land right holders and/or owners will have to re-apply for the extension, renewal or granting of their intended land right.

Finally, Decree 88/2020 regulates that the policies therein may be subject to further review by the BPN and may be revised or adjusted as necessary.

This publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Any reliance on the material contained herein is at the user\'s own risk. You should contact a lawyer in your jurisdiction if you require legal advice. All SSEK publications are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the express written consent of SSEK.

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