Apartment ownership duration heats up again

By Anh Minh   March 8, 2023 | 03:00 am PT
Apartment ownership duration heats up again
Buildings in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 in November 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Policymakers are continuing to debate whether it’s necessary to put an ownership duration on apartments, a policy proposed by the Ministry of Construction but opposed by the public.

As the construction ministry continues to work on a draft bill to modify the Housing Law, most government officials have approved placing a duration on apartment ownership, Deputy Minister of Construction Nguyen Van Sinh said at a meeting Tuesday.

The construction ministry said the reason for the proposal is to change the mindset of apartment owners to convince them that old buildings which are deteriorating after decades of use need to be renovated or replaced with new ones.

Phan Trung Ly, former chairman of the National Assembly’s Law Committee, said an ownership duration is necessary and should be transparently communicated with homebuyers.

The law needs to distinguish between land ownership and apartment ownership, otherwise the debate on this topic will never be resolved, he added.

Dao Ngoc Nghiem, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Urban Development Planning Association, said an ownership duration should be legalized, but the it is the responsibility of the government to determine when that duration ends.

But Tran Ngoc Duong, chairman of the Advisory Council on Democracy and the Law under the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, said that the proposed change is not practical.

A termination of permanent apartment ownership will freeze the market as people will no longer be interested in this type of property, while in other countries high-risers have long been indispensable, he added.

Apartment ownership is recognized by the government and it is a large asset for many people, he said. "We cannot terminate their ownership rights just with a single policy."

"The main reason people do not move from old and unsafe buildings," he said, "is because they have not been compensated properly."

Placing a duration on apartment ownership is a topic that has been heavily debated since last year as the number of apartment building rises in big cities to accommodate the growing demand for residences.

A survey of 906 VnExpress readers found that 73% of respondents do not support setting an ownership duration for apartments.

Most apartments in Vietnam are currently either owned permanently or for a period of 50 years. The law requires the developer of an apartment building to maintain construction quality, while the government is required to supervise the design and construction of such projects.

Minister of Construction Nguyen Thanh Nghi said that his ministry has carefully considering people’s rights in drafting this proposal and will continue to work on the issue.

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