10/04/2023 10:41

Is it legal to convert divided land parcels to land for cemeteries and graveyards in Vietnam?

Is it legal to  convert divided land parcels to land for cemeteries and graveyards in Vietnam?

Recently, I have seen investors collect paddy land and divided land parcels and convert them into land for cemeteries and graveyards in Vietnam before selling them to people and making profits. Is the above behavior illegal in Vietnam? Mr. Hoang-Lam Dong, Vietnam

Hello, Lawnet would like to answer the following:

1. Regulations on land for cemeteries and graveyards according to the Land Law

According to the provisions of Clause 2, Article 10 of the Land Law 2013, non-agricultural land, include:

- Land used by religious institutions;

- Land used for cemeteries, graveyards, funeral service centers and cremation centers;

According to Article 162 of the Land Law 2013, land used to cemeteries or graveyards is as follows:

- Land used for cemeteries or graveyards must be developed in concentrated areas in conformity with land use master plans; be located far from residential areas and convenient for burial services and visits, satisfying sanitation and environmental requirements and used economically.

- Provincial-level People’s Committees shall prescribe land quotas and management regimes for construction of graves, statues and monuments, and memorial stela in cemeteries or graveyards with economical use of land, and adopt policies to encourage the burial without using land.

- It is forbidden to build cemeteries or graveyards which are not in conformity with land use master plan and plans which have been approved by competent state agencies.

Thus, land for cemeteries and graveyards is land planned by competent state agencies for the purpose of using land for cemeteries or graveyards. The purchase of farmland (in the agricultural land group) and then subdividing the plot into land for cemeteries or graveyards is contrary to the master plans and plans on land use already approved by competent state agencies is prohibited by law.

2. What are the  administrative sanctions for converting paddy land and dividing plots into land for cemeteries and graveyards in Vietnam?

According to the provisions of Clause 3, Article 9 of Decree 91/2019/ND-CP, conversion of paddy land to non-agricultural land in rural area shall be sanctioned as follows:

- A fine ranging from VND 3,000,000 to VND 5,000,000 shall be imposed if area of land illegally repurposed is less than 0,01 hectare;

- A fine ranging from VND 5,000,000 to VND 10,000,000 shall be imposed if area of land illegally repurposed is from 0,01 hectare to less than 0,02 hectare;

- A fine ranging from VND 10,000,000 to VND 15,000,000 shall be imposed if area of land illegally repurposed is from 0.02 hectare to less than 0.05 hectare;

- A fine ranging from VND 15,000,000 to VND 30,000,000 shall be imposed if area of land illegally repurposed is from 0.05 hectare to less than 1 hectare;

- A fine ranging from VND 30,000,000 to VND 50,000,000 shall be imposed if area of land illegally repurposed is from 0.1 hectare to less than 0.5 hectare;

- A fine ranging from VND 50,000,000 to VND 80,000,000 shall be imposed if area of land illegally repurposed is from 0.5 hectare to less than 01 hectare;

- A fine ranging from VND 80,000,000 to VND 120,000,000 shall be imposed if area of land illegally repurposed is from 01 hectare to less than 03 hectare;

- A fine ranging from VND 120,000,000 to VND 250,000,000 shall be imposed if area of land illegally repurposed is 03 hectare or more.

In addition, for conversion of paddy land to non-agricultural land in urban areas, the form and level of sanction are equal to two (02) times the fine level.

At the same time, rectification measures for conversion of paddy land to into cemetery land are as follows: 

- Enforced restoration of land to its original conditions before the violations with respect to cases specified in Clauses 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this Article, except cases specified in Point b of this Clause;

- Enforced land registration as per the law in case of eligible to be recognized for land use rights according to Article 22 of Decree 43/2014/ND-CP;

- Enforced submission of illegal revenues generated by committing violations in cases specified in Clauses 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this Article, the illegal revenues shall be determined according to Clause 1 Article 7 of Decree 91/2019/ND-CP.

Thus, receiving the transfer of land and then subdividing plots into cemeteries for sale is a violation of the law, which may be handled by competent authorities in accordance with law.

Nguyen Ngoc Tram
344


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