Archive for May, 2016

Conflicting Laws on Foreign Property Ownership (English Language)

conflicting lawsTalks on giving more flexibilities and freedom to foreigners on residential ownership in Indonesia are never-ending story. Despite different views from various parties, the government has made the final step by promulgating the government regulation by the last week of December 2015.

There are several elements in the regulation that are controversial or unclear. The change of duration of right of use (hak pakai) from 70 years to 80 years is highly material. The separation of marriage asset agreement is another element that is still unclear. Wide interpretation and meaning of residence permit for foreigner is also questionable. This writing will focus on the conflicts between the new regulation of 2015 and other regulations, vertically and horizontally.

Vertical Conflict

The new regulation refers to the law number 5 of 1950 on basic provisions of agrarian (land law). This is a fundamental law that has influence on many different areas of other laws. The land law stipulates the types and characteristics of rights of land in Indonesia, including right of use.

From its origin, as explained in the elucidation of land law, right of use derives from “collection of meanings” of various names of rights of land, with slight difference based on its regions. Right of use essentially authorizes the holder to use and/or cultivate crops over land that is directly controlled by state or other party that is not categorized as lease or land utilization agreement. The land law further stipulates that the duration of right of use can be for a definite term or as long as the land is used for a definite purpose.

Granted! The land law does not specifically stipulate the duration of right of use. It only states that it can be for a definite term or as long as it is used. Nevertheless, elucidation of the land law states that foreigner and foreign legal entity can have right of use since it only gives limited authority.

The “limitation of authority” is further translated through a government regulation of 1996 on right to build (hak guna bangunan), right to cultivate (hak guna usaha), and right of use. The regulation of 1996 stipulates that duration of right of use for a 25 years, extended for 20 years, and renewed for 25 years. This results to a maximum of 70-year duration. This duration is 10-year less than duration of right to build, namely maximum of 80 years. Plus, it regulates that if the holder of right of use would like to transfer his rights, he needs to obtain prior approval by the officials issuing the certificate of right of use. These are two essential terms under the regulation where the “limitation of authority” is differentiated between right to build, right to cultivate and right of use.

In order to promote foreign investment, the government of Indonesia has promulgated a new law on investment in 2007 granting an approval in advance on extension and renewal of duration of rights of land under the land law. Few months after its promulgation, the Constitutional Court nullified the terms “approval in advance” and accordingly, the extension and renewal can only be made before the term is going to expire. The investment law of 2007 clearly regulates that the duration of right of use is 25 years, extended for 20 years, and renewed for 25 years. The terms in investment law simply just follow what has been regulated under the government regulation of 1996.

Since the new government regulation of 2015 stipulates the duration of right of use is for 80 years, instead of 70 years, it is clearly conflicting with the investment law of 2007. In addition, it also violates the philosophical purpose of right of use under the land law of 1960.

Horizontal Conflict

From the explanation above, it is unquestionable that the duration of right of use is conflicting with what has been regulated under government regulation of 1996. Other important point, if the new regulation of 2015 is not rectified, land office and any other government officials will interpret that for Indonesians, the right of use is valid for 70-year, but for foreigner, it is valid for 80-year. This is not only a conflict of provisions of regulations, but more importantly, violation of Indonesian’s fundamental rights.

Government regulation of 1996 is only one of the so many other regulations that are conflicting with the new regulation of 2015. What is shocking, on the same date i.e 28 December 2015, the government of Indonesia also issued new regulation on special economic zone (kawasan ekonomi khusus). In this regulation, it is stipulated that the duration of right of use for foreigner is given for 70-year. Why on the same date, government issued several regulations, regulating the same topic, but with two different duration?

Going Forward

Being prudent is always better than acting hastily. It is important that the government always involve legal experts, academicians, legal practitioners, and private parties before issuing any regulations that have impact on a particular business sector or even, public-at-large. It is government’s obligations to ensure that the regulations are implementable and do not jeopardize the current legal system. This is eventually bad for business, especially to foreign investors.

It is therefore indispensable to review the new regulation of 2015 to get it harmonized with the higher-ranked regulations and its horizontal related regulations. The government has to understand that to use the law as a social engineering tool, it must not violate the legal principles.

*This article has been published in The Jakarta Post daily newspaper on 19 February 2016

New Regulation on House Ownership by Foreigner (English Language)

house ownership for foreignerJust recently, a minister regulation of agrarian and spatial planning number 13 of 2016 on procedure of granting, relinquishment or transfer of right over house or residence ownership by foreigner domiciled in Indonesia (MR), as an implementing regulation of government regulation number 103 of 2015 (GR), governing the similar matter, was promulgated.

There are not many new stipulations under the MR. Most of the essential provisions are already governed by the GR, among others, foreigner can own a house or residence over right of use or right of use over right of ownership through an agreement made before land conveyancing officer, and a condominium unit built over right of use. This type of right of use or right of use over right of ownership is granted for 30 years, extendable to 20 years, and renewable for another 30 years, giving a total of 80 years.

MR provides further elaboration on the ‘right of use’. MR stipulates that the single house or condominium unit can be purchased under a right of use over a state land, right of management or right of ownership. This means, a foreigner can have a single house or condominium unit that is built over right of use over a state land, right of use over right of management, or right of use over right of ownership. Accordingly, MR provides flexibility on the three types of right of use for the foreigner. One important point to note, house development is governed under law number 1 of 2011 on housing and residential area (Housing Law). The Housing Law specifically stipulates that a single house can only be made over right of ownership (for Indonesian), right to build over state land, right to build over right of management or right of use over state land. It is clear that the Housing Law does not allow a single house to be built either over right of use over right of management or right of use over right of ownership. It means that the provisions under the MR and GR are conflicting to the Housing Law. This is significant and hence, the provisions may not be implementable.

MR does not allow a foreigner to build or construct a single house over the land, even though it is under right of use. This is different than the old version. A foreigner can only purchase a new single house from the developer or the land owner, and cannot be from secondary market. Moreover, the minimum purchase price is regulated under the MR. The range of minimum purchase price for a new single house varies region to region from Rp 1 bio to Rp 10bio, where for condominium unit, the range is from Rp 750mio to Rp 5bio. Since a foreigner has to buy a new property, if it is purchased from the developer, a foreigner will have to bear 10% VAT and 20% of luxurious tax (if the single house is priced more than Rp 20bio or the condominium unit is priced more than Rp 10bio), as well as 5% acquisition levy.

What is new and beneficial for foreigner is the stipulation on the financing over a new single house. MR stipulates further that the financing can be secured by a mortgage (hak tanggungan). If the single house is built on right of use over right of ownership, the encumbrance should be approved by the holder of right of ownership. If the single house or condominium unit is built on right of use over right of management, the encumbrance should be approved by the holder of right of management. This means a foreigner can purchase a new single house and get financing from the financial institution, and as security, the single house can be mortgaged for the benefit of the creditor.

The other important provision under MR is the clearance on the right to transfer the property by a foreigner. The MR however fails to provide mechanism of transfer. Since it refers to the prevailing regulations, if the property is built on right of use over state land, the prior approval should be from the official issuing the certificate of land. If it is built on right of use over right of management, approval are required from holder of right of management and official issuing the certificate. If it is built on right of use over right of ownership, from the holder of right of ownership and official issuing the certificate. Though clear, there are still layers that a foreigner has to pass through.

MR does not prohibit ownership of a single house or condominium unit more than 1 unit. This is different than the previous regulation. The limitation is only on the purchase price. Nevertheless, due to the gradual increase of property price, the attachment of MR should be adjusted from time to time.

*This article has been published in The Jakarta Post daily newspaper on 25 April 2016

Ancaman Pailit Hantui Investor Properti

kepailitanBerita kepailitan atau penundaan kewajiban pembayaran utang (PKPU) perusahaan pengembang properti semakin banyak terdengar. Baru-baru ini, berita pada pada tanggal 3 Mei 2016 dengan judul “Investor kondotel Panghegar mulai cemas” menyebutkan bahwa lebih dari 300 investor kini menunggu nasib investasi mereka di Grand Royal Panghegar.

Kepailitan atau PKPU bisa dialami setiap perusahaan. Risiko tersebut selalu ada dan mau tidak mau, wajib dihadapi oleh setiap pelaku usaha. Hal yang penting untuk dipahami, kepailitan berbeda dengan insolvensi, atau keadaan dimana debitor tidak mampu lagi membayar kewajiban-kewajibannya (utang). Undang-undang kepailitan di Indonesia tidak mensyaratkan keadaan insolvensi terhadap debitor sebelum dapat diajukan permohonan pailit atau PKPU. Syarat untuk kepailitan adalah keberadaan dua kreditor atau lebih dan adanya utang yang telah jatuh waktu dan dapat ditagih. Undang – undang kepailitan juga mengatur bahwa prinsip pembuktian adalah sederhana, artinya perbedaan besarnya jumlah utang tidak menghalangi diajtuhkannya putusan pailit selama kedua fakta tersebut terpenuhi. Dengan kata lain, selama kedua fakta tersebut terbukti, maka majelis hakim harus mengabulkan debitor pailit. Sedangkan, untuk PKPU, dapat diajukan oleh debitor yang mempunyai lebih dari satu kreditor atau oleh kreditor.

Pengembangan properti di Indonesia diatur dalam undang-undang nomor 1 tahun 2011 tentang perumahan dan kawasan permukiman dan undang-undang nomor 20 tahun 2011 tentang rumah susun, juga peraturan perundang-undangan terkait lainnya. Seperti umumnya suatu pengembangan properti, pembangunan akan dilakukan secara bertahap, dari tahap pemasaran, penjualan, konstruksi, dan pengelolaan. Antara periode pemasaran dan konstruksi, umumnya akan ditandatangani surat pesanan dan perjanjian pengikatan jual beli antara pengembang dan para pembeli. Setelah konstruksi selesai, unit-unit akan diserahterimakan dan para pembeli wajib mulai membayar iuran pengelolaan (service charge) untuk membiayai bagian-bagian yang digunakan secara bersama-sama, khususnya di dalam suatu apartemen (rumah susun). Selain itu, umumnya pengembang akan mulai menyusun pertelaan, akta pemisahan, lalu memulai proses sertifikasi hak milik atas satuan rumah susun (SHMSRS). Dengan terbitnya SHMSRS, pengembang kemudian akan mengundang tiap-tiap pembeli untuk menandatangani akta jual beli terhadap unit-unit apartemen (rumah susun) yang dipesan sebelumnya.

Permasalahannya adalah, adanya kesenjangan waktu antara selesainya konstruksi, lalu serah terima unit, dan penandatanganan akta jual beli atas SHMSRS antara pengembang dan para pembeli. Sewajarnya, setelah konstruksi selesai, SHMSRS segera dialihkan kepada para pembeli yang telah melunasi harga pembelian, sehingga bukti kepemilikan terhadap unit-unit apartemen menjadi jelas. Selama peralihan SHMSRS belum terjadi, aset properti yang sedang atau telah selesai tersebut, masih terdaftar atas nama pengembang properti (berdasarkan sertifikat tanahnya). Jika ada putusan pailit terhadap pengembang properti selama kesenjangan waktu tersebut, meski para pembeli telah melakukan pembelian terhadap unit-unit apartemen atau bahkan telah melunasinya, tanah dan bangunan akan dianggap sebagai harta pailit debitor (pengembang yang dipailitkan). Akibatnya, para pembeli akan berubah status menjadi kreditor.

Keadaan ini tentu sangat tidak ideal bagi para pembeli, khususnya bagi mereka yang telah melunasi harga pembelian dan telah menempati unit-unit apartemen tersebut dalam waktu yang tidak sebentar. Wajar jika seseorang mengatakan bahwa keadaan “hilangnya kepemilikan” karena kepailitan terhadap pengembang adalah sesuatu yang tidak adil dan tidak masuk akal. Namun, di sisi lain, sebagai pelaku usaha, adalah wajar untuk melakukan penjaminan terhadap aset propertinya. Melalui pembiayaan yang diperolehnya dari lembaga keuangan, pengembang dapat melakukan pembangunan sesuai jadwal yang telah dijanjikan kepada para pembeli. Sudah menjadi pengetahuan umum bahwa kegiatan usaha real estat mempunyai dampak yang positif terhadap sektor-sektor lainnya.

Dalam keadaan seperti sinilah hukum diharapkan berperan sebagai instrumen yang juga turut andil memastikan terwujudnya keadilan bagi para pembeli, tapi tetap memberikan kepastian bagi pengembang untuk terus melakukan kegiatan usaha di sektor properti. Hal-hal yang dapat dilakukan untuk mencegah terjadinya kepailitan atau PKPU pada perusahaan pengembang, antara lain, menetapkan syarat-syarat yang lebih berat terhadap pembiayaan bagi properti yang akan dijual kepada pihak ketiga, menetapkan periode pembiayaan, mewajibkan lembaga keuangan untuk melakukan roya parsial terhadap unit-unit yang telah dilunasi oleh para pembeli, mewajibkan pengembang untuk segera mengurus sertifikasi unit-unit yang diperjualbelikan dalam waktu tertentu setelah konstruksi, mewajibkan pihak-pihak terkait, yaitu pemerintah daerah dan kantor pertanahan untuk membantu pengembang menuntaskan sertifikasi dalam jangka waktu tertentu, termasuk dalam pengurusan sertifikat laik fungsi. Dengan demikian, pengembang dapat tetap menjaminkan asetnya untuk kepentingan pembiayaan, tapi para pembeli juga memperoleh keadilan dan perlindungan hukum jika kepailitan terjadi pada pengembang.

Melihat kasus serupa telah terjadi berulang-ulang, pemerintah perlu memperhatikan hal ini secara saksama dan melakukan tindakan nyata. Selain pemerintah, seluruh pemangku kepentingan dalam pengembangan suatu properti, juga perlu terlibat memikirkan dan mencari solusi terhadap permasalahan serupa. Harapannya, pengembangan dan pembangunan properti dapat terus berlanjut dan hak-hak para pembeli terlindungi.

*Artikel di atas telah diterbitkan pada harian KONTAN tanggal 12 Mei 2016