PwC Legal Vietnam NewsBrief

NEW LAW ON RESIDENTIAL HOUSING – RELAXATION OF RULES FOR FOREIGNERS BUYING PROPERTIES IN VIETNAM

On 25 November, the National Assembly passed a new law on residential housing. This new law will come into effect next July. While the enacted version has not yet been released, based on the last version submitted to the National Assembly for voting which was made available to us, key changes in the new law include:

In addition to foreign invested enterprises as under the current law, branches and representative offices of foreign entities in Vietnam, as well as foreign funds and branches of foreign banks in Vietnam (“Foreign Organisations”) can purchase residential properties in Vietnam.

The requirements which foreign individuals (“Foreign Individuals”) must satisfy in order to purchase residential properties in Vietnam are  relaxed significantly. Any foreign individual granted a visa for entering into Vietnam (there is no requirement on the visa term) is permitted to purchase residential properties in Vietnam.

Foreign Organisations and Foreign Individuals are allowed to purchase apartments and houses in residential investment projects (i.e. projects which build residential apartments/houses for sale and lease).

The number of properties Foreign Organisations/Foreign Individuals are allowed to purchase must not exceed 30% of the apartments in a building, or 250 houses in a ward. It is unclear under the law if these limits apply to each Foreign Organisation/Foreign Individual or all of the Foreign Organisations/Foreign Individuals purchasing apartments in the same building or houses in the same ward.

The “ownership” of the apartments/houses by Foreign Individuals is limited to 50 years (with an option for renewal) and can not exceed the operational term stated in the investment certificate/establishment licence if the owner is a Foreign Organisation. This restriction does not apply to Foreign Individuals married to Vietnamese citizens.

Foreign Individuals can purchase properties for leasing, but the Foreign Organisations can only use the properties for their own staff accommodation, and not for office premises, leasing, etc.