Thu, 02 Oct 2003

'Getting authentic land title here is difficult'

The City Administration has announced that it would continue eviction in some areas, owned by private companies or state-run entities, before the start of the Muslim fasting month, which begins in the last week of October. The administration officials have apparently not taken into account that most residents actually paid for what they thought was a title to the land, and did not just squat on the land. The Jakarta Post talked to some residents about the difficulties in obtaining affordable housing in the capital.

Heri, 45, is a sidewalk food vendor in South Jakarta. He lives in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta, with his family:

Living in the capital is really hard, especially trying to find an affordable house.

As a migrant, I had to look around for quite some time before I could find an affordable house a few years ago. I asked native Jakartans, mostly living in suburban areas, if they wanted to sell their land.

I sensed something odd when several land owners could not answer my questions on the legal status of the land. I tried to get more information from the neighbors and they convinced me that the land was in dispute.

Since then, I have become more careful when dealing with land and housing in Jakarta. Otherwise, I'll be in trouble or end up being evicted if I don't have a legal right the land in the future.

I feel sorry for the evicted people. They may be legally wrong or just naive but they, just like other citizens, also deserve decent housing.

Agus, not his real name, 28, is an employee with a private company in Central Jakarta. He lives in Ciledug, Tangerang, with his brother:

If we decided to buy some land or a house, a careful research is needed. That goes for all of us.

I had to ask many people living around the area about a particular plot of land to make sure that the legal status of the land or the ownership was clear.

I suggest to others to never give a down payment until we are sure who the legal owner is.

From my experience, Betawi (native Jakartans) usually get their ownership status on land based on inheritance. Most of the land doesn't have proper documents.

I don't want to take a risk of becoming a squatter because I will be prone to eviction.

Wijaya, 32, is an employee with a company in Central Jakarta. He lives in Kayu Jati, East Jakarta, with his wife and daughter:

It is not easy to get a comfortable, affordable house in the city.

I can't just make a deal to buy a house in the city because I have to consider the house's legal status and also what sort of neighborhood it is.

I want to live in a house which is accessible to my office and my wife's office, but it's not easy. The only possible way is to buy a house out in the suburbs, regardless of the distance and the expensive price.

-- Leo Wahyudi S.