What is the Land Tenure in Indonesia?

Published by Handy Work on

In Indonesia, land tenure is a matter of some controversy. Some scholars believe that all land is state owned and therefore that there is no private ownership of land.

Others claim that the government has given over the right to own land to individuals and that there is a limited system of private ownership.

A third group claims that the government has a form of legal ownership, but not physical control.

Finally, there are those who argue that there is no such thing as “public” or “private” land in Indonesia.

All these arguments have been based on differing interpretations of Indonesian law and court decisions.

Some scholars argue that the Indonesians have right to use state-owned land for their own purposes.

This is called “mewajibkan,” which means to require someone to do something (in this case, use state-owned land). The term also refers to granting rights by an owner to someone else without requiring payment in return.

This interpretation suggests that Indonesia has a system of private ownership similar to many other countries.

This interpretation also means that when people build houses on state-owned land they have no obligation toward it.

Another school of thought argues that although individuals may own property, they do not actually control it. They cannot freely sell or lease it as they wish.

They can only transfer their right to use it under certain conditions. It also means they must pay taxes on their property even though they do not have full control over it.

Does Indonesia Have Land Tenure System?

In this view, Indonesia does not have a system similar to what exists in many other countries.

Instead, Indonesian law gives people some rights but does not grant them full control over what they consider their property; this school claims that Indonesians essentially rent rather than own their properties.

The third school argues that individual citizens have legal rights, but they do not actually exercise these rights. Most Indonesians do not possess clear title deeds or other documents proving their ownership.

Moreover, they cannot freely sell or lease their properties because the government has not provided them with the necessary documents. They must also pay taxes on their properties even though they do not have clear title deeds.

The fourth school argues that there is no such thing as “public” or “private” land in Indonesia.

In this view, there is no system of private ownership in Indonesia.

What is the Land Tenure in Indonesia?
Photo by Gautier Pfeiffer on Unsplash.

What is the land tenure?

The law of Indonesia recognizes the right of ownership for all citizens over their own land and land they have been given permission to use.

However, because of the complicated nature of land tenure in Indonesia, the question of who actually owns the land is a matter of dispute. The government has not yet provided an answer to this question.

In other words, the state has legal ownership over all land but citizens have legal rights over it. This declaration was made in response to questions about who owns property that was destroyed during the 1998 riots.

In Indonesia there are several kinds of rights that individuals may hold over land:

(1) hak milik (ownership),

(2) hak guna usaha (right to use),

(3) hak guna bangunan (right to build on), and

(4) hak atas tanah dan bangunan/hak untuk memungut tanah dan bangunan/hak milik tanah dan bangunan/hak untuk memungut tanah dan bangunan/hak milik pemilikan lahan atau tanah dan bangunan (right to take possession).

Property-Owning in Indonesia

The government holds most land in Indonesia. There are, however, some areas that are privately owned. There is a very limited system of private ownership in Indonesia.

If you plan to buy a land in Indonesia, it is best to do your research and ask people who have already purchased the land.

Our blog, HandyWork, provides you with an array of information on all aspects of property buying in Indonesia. For more information, please visit our blog now!


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