Illegal mountain villas openly traded on housing market

By Lam Le   March 15, 2016 | 09:00 pm PT
Villas in Ba Vi, claimed to be worth VND800 million to VND1.4 billion each, have been on the market since 2012 without any legal documents.

Dien Vien Village spans 5ha and is situated in the mountains of Ba Vi district, a popular tourist destination on the outskirts of Hanoi. Construction is believed to have started in 2012.

A villa in Dien Vien Village. Photo by T. Hai

A villa in Dien Vien Village. Photo by T. Hai

City authorities are currently investigating the project and say that local authorities are aware of the issue but have failed to respond.  

The Construction Department said at a press conference on March 8 that the land was acquired by Nguyen Thanh Ba and other groups from local residents without land use certificates. Such transactions are deemed illegal as per article 188 of the Land Law.

Ba told VnExpress that he was not the project investor. He said some people had authorized him to purchase land, oversee construction and process transactions due to his construction experience.

However, advertisements for Dien Vien Village list Ba’s company, Archi Land, as the official agent. Furthermore, the project investor is said to be Thang Long Xanh JSC owned by Nguyen Thanh Nam, Ba’s brother.

Nam also told VnExpress his company was not the project investor, but his company name had been used for advertising purposes.

“We were initially approached by people who wished to buy plots of land for construction. Then other clients with similar demands signed service contracts with us. It’s almost like a brokerage contract. We purchase a plot of land on their behalf, build a villa and do the paperwork to transfer ownership,” Nam explained.

According to Nam, half of the villas in Dien Vien Village are linked to Thang Long Xanh JSC. The remaining half are managed by individuals. Those wishing to sell a villa may do so via the company.

A former villa owner who wished to remain anonymous told VnExpress a different story. Four years ago, he signed a contract for a villa with Thang Long Xanh JSC. The 400m2 plot of land cost him almost VND 1 million/m2. When the project was completed in 2014, he had to pay the company around VND2 billion in total, including construction costs.

“I bought the villa from them [Thang Long JSC], and all the paperwork was processed by the company. There was only a capital contribution agreement. We never received a land use certificate, even after the villa was completed. Last year I wanted to sell the villa, but was unable to. In the end, I sold it back to the project investor but they forced the price down to VND1.3 billion."

Dien Vien Village is located in Yen Bai commune, Ba Vi district.

At a press conference on March 8, Deputy Director of Hanoi’s Construction Department Vo Nguyen Phong said that since 2013, Yen Bai People’s Committee, district inspectors and Ba Vi People’s Committee have been processing the violations but have failed to follow them through.

A document released by Ba Vi People’s Committee claims Yen Bai is responsible for allowing illegal construction and transactions of land.

Deputy Director Phong said the outcome of the investigation will be made public.

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