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Housing ownership laws for foreign enterprises

Update: September, 24/2014 - 08:02

The workers do their work at the construction in Binh Duong Industrial Park. — PhotoPhoto sunland.com.vn

There are different provisions of the law on the conditions, duration, forms of ownership, rights and obligations of foreign-invested enterprises owning houses in Viet Nam, depending on the enterprises' business sectors.

1. Foreign invested enterprises (hereinafter referred to as "FIEs") conduct real estate business activities in Viet Nam by investing in the construction of houses for the purposes of sale, leasing or lease purchasing.

"In case where an FIE builds houses to sell, after completing the construction project, the investor may sell such house to those subject to housing ownership in Viet Nam as provided for by the Housing Law and the Law on Real Estate Business.

A person who purchases such houses shall be granted by competent authorities a Certificate of land-use rights and ownership over houses and other assets attached to the land (hereinafter referred to as the "Certificate of Housing Ownership"). The investor is held responsible for conducting procedures requesting competent state agencies to issue the purchaser with a Certificate of Housing Ownership within 50 days commencing from the date the house is handed over to the purchaser, unless the purchaser volunteers to implement such procedures himself.

"In the event where an FIE invests in constructing houses for the purpose of leasing, the enterprise shall receive Certificates of Housing Ownership for such houses issued by competent authorities. The duration of ownership is prescribed in the Investment Certificate and clearly stated in the Certificate of Housing Ownership.

When the Investment Certificate expires, the FIE has the liability to cede the leasing houses and other unsold houses not subject to demolition to the People's Committee of the province where the houses are situated. Chairman of the provincial People's Committee shall decide to establish state ownership over such houses and appoint an enterprise with state-owned housing management functions to administer and utilise such houses in accordance with laws.

One should also note that when FIEs - which are not entitled to own houses in Viet Nam but entitled to own apartments in commercial housing development projects - are donated or inherit an apartment of the commercial housing development project, they can only enjoy the full value of such apartment after directly selling it or authorising someone to do so with sufficient documentation as prescribed.

2. For other FIEs not implementing real estate business activities, in the event of arising housing needs for their employees, such enterprises are permitted to purchase and own one or several apartments in commercial housing development projects and outside the areas restricting or prohibiting foreigners from residing and travelling in Viet Nam.

Enterprises may only use houses for residential purpose, not for rent, for office or other purposes.

The duration of housing ownership in Viet Nam is in correspondence with the time limit prescribed in the Investment Certificate of the enterprise, including extended time. The ownership duration is calculated from the date of granting of the Certificate of Housing Ownership and is also stated in such Certificate. In the event of expired investment period, dissolution or bankruptcy, houses of FIEs shall be handled in accordance with provisions of laws on investment and bankruptcy and relevant regulations of Vietnamese laws.

One should also note that if an FIE is donated or inherits other types of housing, such enterprise may only select to own apartments in commercial housing development projects. If the house gifted or inherited is not an apartment of a commercial housing development project, the enterprise has the right to donate or to sell such house to those subject to owning houses in Viet Nam to enjoy its value.

PLF – LAW FIRM

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