'Super-thin' houses shoot up like bamboo all over Hanoi

By Bui Hong Nhung, VnExpressJuly 19, 2016 | 03:42 pm PT
Every time a new road opens in the capital, a crop of skinny houses is not far behind.

So-called skinny houses that seem to grow out of nowhere should be controlled by local authorities, but civil servants have admitted they have yet to find a solution to the problem.

The majority of house owners use them as business fronts or lease them out, rather than for residential purposes. 


A skinny house with a billboard on top. Photo by VnExpress/Doan Quy


The skinny houses has shot up on a side of the new road. Photo by VnExpress/Doan Quy

Super-thin houses are built in a densely populated areas like Dong Da District.


Skinny houses standing side by side paint an ugly picture of the urban landscape. Photo by Vnexpress/Ngoc Thanh.


The house looks like a wall. Photo by Vnexpress/Ngoc Thanh.


A newly-erected house. Photo by Vnexpress/Ngoc Thanh.

Under current regulations in Hanoi, houses can’t be constructed on an area less than 15 square meters. However, this rule appears to be being ignored on new streets.

Hanoi’s Department of Construction detected more than 700 skinny houses around the city in December last year, of which only 340 have been dealt with.

Ly Chi Hong from the department’s inspectorate explained that each time a new road is constructed through a residential area, locals take advantage of roadside lots to build these odd-shaped houses.

“Local authorities are in charge of controlling these skinny houses. If they find a house built on a piece of land that doesn’t meet regulations (smaller than than 15 square meters), they must seize it,” Hong added.

In reality, it’s not easy for state officials to demolish a skinny house.

Vu Van Duy, vice chairman of Phuong Liet Ward in Thanh Xuan District, said that many people still build houses despite being told not to by authorities. If the government wants to pull down houses, it needs to support local people through a specific resettlement plan, which hasn’t been introduced so far, Duy said.

go to top