Ministry proposes foreigners to be able to own houses in Việt Nam

August 24, 2023 - 07:14
Foreigners are entitled to own houses for a limited time but cannot own land; when the ownership period expires, they can extend once and be allowed to buy and sell houses like domestic citizens.
The National Assembly Standing Committee discussed the draft amended Law on Housing on March 17 this year. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn

HÀ NỘI — Foreigners have the right to own houses for a set period, but land ownership is not permitted. Once their ownership duration concludes, they may renew it once and have the privilege to purchase and sell houses similarly to local residents.

These are the most recent guidelines incorporated by the Ministry of Construction (MoC) in the revised draft of the Housing Law, following feedback from the National Assembly (NA) deputies.

In a report detailing the NA deputies' views on the updated draft Housing Law submitted to the Government, the MoC noted that a NA deputy proposed that the revised Housing Law should only address the house ownership in Việt Nam by foreign entities and individuals.

The right to use land should be excluded.

Moreover, the MoC has suggested that the Government add provisions about extending the period of house ownership in Việt Nam for foreigners.

The Government should include a clause stating that if a foreigner purchases a house in Việt Nam and subsequently sells it to Vietnamese nationals or those of Vietnamese descent living abroad, the buyer should enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as local individuals.

Nguyễn Văn Đỉnh, a legal expert, told the Tiến Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that if a project was sold to a foreigner after fully complying with the laws on housing and real estate, and the foreigner also fully met the conditions to buy and own houses in Việt Nam, he/she needed to be granted a certificate.

“If the draft law does not stipulate the land use rights of foreigner, it will prolong the problems of the Law on Land 2013 and conflict with the Law on Housing 2014,” said Đỉnh.

Specifically, foreign individuals or organisations intending to legally purchase a house are not issued certificates by the State, whereas this provision is available for other buyers, including Vietnamese living overseas. Consequently, the nation fails to appeal to a potentially significant segment of buyers, perhaps those of high calibre, who wish to purchase homes and settle in Việt Nam.

Such challenges have led to a diminishing enthusiasm for the policy of selling homes to foreigners as outlined in the 2014 Housing Law, noted Đỉnh.

Under the present Housing Law, foreigners who can own houses in Việt Nam encompass foreign entities and individuals who invest in housing construction ventures within the country; foreign-backed firms, representative offices or branches of overseas businesses, foreign investment funds, and international banks that operate in Việt Nam. Additionally, foreign individuals permitted to enter the country can also own houses.

The legislation further states that foreigners can only acquire homes in Việt Nam through specific means: by investing in housing construction ventures; by purchasing, leasing, receiving as a gift, or inheriting apartments or individual homes within housing development projects, barring regions designated for national defence and security as determined by the Government.

The 2013 Land Law dictates that foreigners are not qualified for land allocation, leasing, land use rights acknowledgement, or the receipt of these rights. Hence, foreigners are prohibited from transferring land use rights or purchasing land in Việt Nam. — VNS