Mini-apartment owners fight to get papers
HA NOI (VNS)— The Ha Noi Department of Natural Resources and Environment has asked city authorities to grant official ownership certificates to mini-apartment owners.
Ha Noi approves 16 resettlement areas
HA NOI — A plan has been approved to build 16 more resettlement areas in Ha Noi costing VND3.3 trillion (US$158 million) by 2020, according to the municipal People's Committee.
Specifically, about 12,500 apartments will be built with investment capital of VND980 billion ($47 million) from 2012-15, and a further 30,000 apartments with investment capital of VND2.4 trillion ($115 million) will be finished in the following five years.
The city has instructed the Department of Planning and Investment to set up investment management regulations for resettlement housing to attract investors. It also asked the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to re-examine the land fund to implement the project.
In terms of the 53 previously approved resettlement housing projects in the city, 15 will be finished by the end of this year, providing 1,860 apartments. The rest will be completed by 2015. — VNS
Deputy Director of the department Nguyen Huu Nghia said those who purchased mini-apartments in shared blocks in the city would be granted all legal papers, including land and housing ownership certificates.
The department was working with relevant authorities to set up criteria for mini-apartments before granting certificates, including legal certificates for developers, design standards, construction quality, management and use.
A mini-apartment is defined as an apartment in a private building with an area of 30-40 square metres. They have become a solution to accommodate low income earners, with prices of between VND20-30 million ($960-1,440) per square metre.
In Ha Noi, mini-apartments are popular in the southern part of the city on the streets of Quan Nhan, Bui Xuong Trach, Tran Cung, Thai Thinh, Lang Thuong, Tuong Mai and Mai Dong. Most were built across an area of 70-200 square metres and divided into three to five apartments on each floor. The blocks are usually five to 10 stories high.
The proposal has received strong support from both investors and residents of mini-apartment buildings.
Nguyen Duc Thien, an investor, said that he had to hire a lawyer to complete all the procedures to obtain house ownership certificates for his six mini-apartment blocks.
"It requires a lot of time- consuming legal paperwork, so I'd rather pay someone else to do it," he said.
Thien said all of his apartments were about 35sq.m and eligible for the certificate, adding that he was not sure about smaller apartments.
"It might be difficult for them to get certificates, especially for blocks down small alleys without construction permission from the city's construction authorities," he said.
Tran Trung Thanh, a mini-apartment resident on Lang Street, said that he and the other 17 households in his block did not have housing ownership certificates.
The chances of getting a certificate were slim because there was no management board for the block and inadequate facilities such as the garage, ladder and top floor, which were downgraded shortly after the block opened.
A small ladder without a light was the only exit from the block in case of emergencies, he said.
The situation is not uncommon in Ha Noi. Dao Trung Chinh, deputy director of the ministry's Land Management Department, told Tien phong ( The Vanguard) newspaper that many mini-apartments were built illegally and did not meet constructions standards, making them ineligible for ownership certificates.
Chinh said the necessary legal papers included land (not including site clearance), construction permission, structural integrity, fire safety and control, and trading contracts between sellers and buyers.
Nguyen Van Son, deputy director of the Ha Noi Police Fire Prevention and Fighting Department, said the department rarely received applications to inspect fire prevention and fighting facilities from investors.
"Fire prevention and fighting regulations stipulate that apartment buildings with more than five storeys must have entrance ladders, lighting systems in case of fire, and fire extinguishers. Residents in these buildings must be trained about what to do if a fire breaks out," he said.
Son said authorities should strengthen investor compliance of these regulations, including installing alarms and extinguishers and banning encroachment of exits to ensure residents' safety.
Figures from the city's Department of Construction showed that there were about 400 buildings with more than seven storeys and 1,600 of less than six storeys in the capital. — VNS