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Apartment building fees under debate

Update: October, 20/2015 - 08:20
The Seminar organized by the Vietnam Building Management and Maintenance Association (VBMA) and the Housing and Real Estate Market Management Agency (HREMMA) under the MoC on October 16. — VNS Photo Nguyen Manh Ha
HA NOI (VNS)  — Residents of high rise apartment buildings are concerned that management boards are squandering maintenance fees.

According to the law, the owner of an apartment has to pay an extra two percent of the total apartment sale price for the maintenance of facilities inside the building.

Draft regulations on apartment block management, proposed by the Ministry of Construction (MoC), clarify that the building's developers are in charge of opening a bank account for temporary management of the fees when the building management board has not yet been established.

The fees must be given to the management board no later than seven days after the board is set up.

In a seminar to discuss the draft regulations on Friday, Nguyen Nhu Vinh, general director of Hoang Thanh real estate company, said that many management boards have been unclear in using the fees.

The maintenance fees may be massive in many apartment buildings, comprising up to millions of US dollars.

"If the fees are used effectively, they can last from 40 to 50 years. Otherwise, they can run out within ten years. It is necessary to advise residents on how to use the fees effectively," Vinh added.

An apartment building on Ha Noi's To Huu Road. Residents of high rise apartment buildings say that management boards are unclear about maintenance fees. — VNS Photo Doan Tung

The holders of the fees' bank account should include one person representing the developers and two members of the building management board to prevent the risks in case the board members sell their apartments or no longer live there, suggested Nguyen Quoc Hiep, chairman and general director of the Global Petrol Investment Joint Stock Company (GP Invest).

Nguyen Manh Khoi, deputy head of the MoC's Housing and Real Estate Market Management Agency, said that to ensure the correct use of the fees, strict rules on the board's financial management have been imposed in the draft regulations.

Accordingly, the management board can only open a bank account when they prove all documents required by the bank. The amount of withdrawn money and the number of bank account holders must be determined at the board's meetings.

The board members are allowed to withdrawn the money when 100 per cent of the board members agree, he said.

Regarding the fact that many apartment building developers have not returned maintenance fees to the management board even after the board has been established, Khoi said that the People's Committees would apply coercive methods to force developers to refund the fees.

Recently, the Viet Nam Construction and Import-Export Joint Stock Company (Vinaconex) was reported to delay the refund of VND70billion (US$3 million) of fees for N05 Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh apartment building residents in Ha Noi.

Earlier, people living in Keangnam Ha Noi Landmark Tower, the country's highest skyscraper, demanded their money back from the South Korean developer. — VNS

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