First mini-apartment sales raise legal concerns

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Sales at the first small-scale apartment building in Ho Chi Minh City began on Tuesday, raising concerns afresh about the legitimacy of such a project and its impacts on urban infrastructure.

Nineteen apartments of 45-64 square meters each at the Vinacomplex III building in Tan Binh District are being sold at around VND838 million per unit. The Techombank is offering home loans to buyers.

The owner of the building, Tran Thi Hong Loan, has chosen Vinacomplex Company as the developer and Hoang Anh Saigon Real Estate as the representative to sell the apartments.

Industry insiders said the building is basically an individually-owned house with many rooms. Its owner now wants to sell the rooms, or apartments as they are being advertised, to other people.

A Tan Binh District official said the owner was only licensed to build a residential house, not an apartment building for sale.

Quach Hong Tuyen, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Construction, told news website VnExpress that this practice needs to be reviewed by the authorities.

"If an enterprise is involved in the investment, development and sales of a housing project, that project needs to be on a larger scale and sales must be conducted through a real estate exchange," he said.

He said there would also be a problem with the land use rights being shared by different people.

"This kind of housing project is more complicated than it seems," he said.

Experts have expressed other concerns. They've said many households living on a small area of land will put more pressure on urban infrastructure that is already strained.

Architect Doan Trinh Hien said when many families begin living in a multi-storied house, population density in the area will rise sharply and the pressure on utilities and other services would increase correspondingly as well.

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