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Hanoi bans apartments from being used as offices - again

25/08/2016

According to the laws on housing, all business activities must be moved out of residential apartments by June 30 but the local authorities of Hanoi are still struggling to implement the laws.

 

An apartment block in Dong Da District

Several regulations issued since 2008 have banned organisations and individuals from using residential apartments as commercial offices. Decree 99 issued last year also asked commercial offices to be moved out of the apartments by June 30.

According to the Management Agency for Housing and Real Estate Market, the decree aims to ensure better rights for residents. Apartment blocks are not designed for commercial activities but for some reasons, more and more people have rented apartments as offices for their companies.

At apartment blocks in Cau Giay District and Dong Da District, name boards are displayed outside for various companies such as Institute for Biomedical Research and Development or Mat Than Technology Development and Transfer Company.

Even managers of apartment blocks help as real estate brokers. "This is an apartment that the owner asked me to help them find a renter. The service fee is VND400,000 a month for regular residents and VND800,000 if they use it as an office," a manager said.

Since 2009, the Ministry of Construction has asked local authorities to review and deal with the problem but almost no effort has actually been made to carry out the order.

Unable to apply the ban, the ministry tried to legalise it under various conditions including average area per capita must be no less than eight square metres or the owners and their neighbours must agree to the new use of the apartment. However, this proposal was not approved by the public and the ministry again tried to apply the ban.

One of the reasons why renters are slow to move out or ignore the regulation completely is because there is no punishment. Investors and management boards of the apartment blocks also turn their backs on the problem, saying that their job is to build and sell the apartments to customers, they don’t interfere with customers' decisions.

Bui Sinh Quyen, head of Phuc Tho Law Office, said, "The authorities should announce clearly what kind of punishment and who will carry out the punishment if the apartment owners violate regulations. And who will supervise the activities and what will happen if the owners commit violation several times."

tienphong, dtinews.vn | August 25, 2016 10:57 AM

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