Owners of mini-apartments in Hanoi are finding it difficult to gain land use certificates also known as a pink book as the landlords of their homes have not completed the necessary procedures.
Many average earners are choosing to buy mini-apartments. But several home-owners remain concerned that they do not have the legal documents that prove their ownership. The only proof they have is a contract stamped by local authorities, while they continue to lack proof of their land-use rights, and the red book, proving property ownership remains in the hands of the investor.
Before signing the contracts, buyers were warned that they would have to wait several months before receiving their pink book.
One of the main causes for the delay in apartment owners not receiving their pink books is that investors have not obeyed building regulations. When asking for the building permit, many investors only applied for a 'private house' permit rather than a business permit in order to avoid taxes. Many buildings lack lifts, emergency exits or fire alarms as the building developers want to cut costs.
"Pink books are hard to get because investors commonly flout basic building restrictions, such as the number of storeys in their block. Those who live in these unregistered floors have no hope of getting a pink book." Nguyen Van Son, a lawyer in Hanoi said.
Authorities have also been blamed for the problem. They have been unnecessarily restrictive in granting land-use rights for these micro-sized apartment block developments.
Some investors let buyers keep VND10-20 million (USD478-957) in return for them not having to process the pink book application. While other landlords deposits the red book proving property ownership with a bank, assure their buyers that it can only be withdrawn if every household within the block agrees.
In addition, because of the cheap price, the apartments are mostly located in small buildings with small stairways and no management to ensure the property is maintained.
A homeowner said, "Currently, we don't have any rights over this property. We even have to pay higher prices for electricity and water because there's only one meter for the whole building."
The rash of small-scale apartment blocks was encouraged by the Ministry of Construction’s request to the Government Office to help boost the low-income property market in the capital.
The 'red book’ indicates the right to use land and the 'pink book’ is a certificate that indicates both land use rights and ownership of house and assets on the land.
Buyers of a house in an urban area or an apartment in an apartment block are provided with a ‘pink book’.
Without a red book, land owners cannot sell their land and nor allowed to build houses with two or more storeys.
Having no pink book, house owners cannot sell or lease their house legally.
They find it hard to get access bank loans without a red or a pink book as security.