Dear Viet Nam News,
My Vietnamese wife and I own a detached house and land in Da Lat.
We are now confronted with an almost five-metre high wall which a new neighbour has erected bordering our own wall and fence.
During construction, a considerable amount of damage was caused to our property. The erection of the wall has resulted in darkened rooms on that side of the house. In addition, it lessens the value of the estate, and the situation would become even worse if walls of a similar height were erected on the other two sides of our land. Such walls also make it easy for strangers to gain access to our house.
We would like to know whether a wall of five or six metres in height complies with Vietnamese building laws.
The offices to which we submitted our complaints provided con-flicting information and were unable to give us relevant details regarding the "covenants and restriction" regulations which apply to our property.
Does Viet Nam News think that we should contact the Prime Minister's Office for further advice and assistance in this matter?
Phan Vu, My Trang
Dear Mr Eggert,
We have contacted lawyer Le Van Binh, the Da Lat People's Committee and Ward 8 People's Committee where your house is located regarding your questions.
Binh, a member of Thai Binh Lawyers Association, said that if both you and your neighbour are legal owners of the properties and the construction of the five-metre wall was permitted by Lam Dong Province's Construction Department and followed Lam Dong Province's Architecture Plan, your neighbour has the legal right to erect it.
Vietnamese Civil Law does not regulate and limit construction on one's private property. The construction, however, has to be okayed by the people's committee at provincial or district level according to the Construction Law.
The Civil Law also includes a regulation called "Compensation for damages that are excluded in the two side's agreements." Under this regulation, if the neighbour's construction of the wall caused financial damage to you, they will have to compensate you. To request compensation, you have to be able to provide proof of the damage caused.
Provincial people's committees are responsible for resolving disputes of this kind, particularly if building work was carried out without a permit or the ownership of the property is in doubt. The Prime Minister's Office has no role to play in this matter.
Chairman of Ward 8 People's Committee, Le Tan Lam, said your neighbour had received permission to erect the wall and had showed that he was the legal owner of the land where the wall was erected. He said his office had arranged for your family and your neighbour to discuss the matter of compensation for any damage caused to your property. The negotiations apparently broke down because neither party could agree on compensation levels.
Truong Phuong Thuong, the deputy head of Da Lat People's Committee's administrative office, said Ward 8 People's Committee had failed to resolve this issue and should have passed your case on to Da Lat People's Committee. The fact that Ward 8 People's Committee had not passed your case on to Da Lat People's Committee since hearing about it last November was wrong.
Thuong said he would speak to Lam about this matter. After Thuong's office receives a request to resolve this dispute from Ward 8 People's Committee, they will contact the relevant offices about the matter and will inform you of the result.
We hope this information is of some help to you. Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.