I. Based on the latest Housing Law and Real Estate Business Law 2019
– Housing Law No. 65/2014/QH13, dated on November 25, 2014.
– Decree 30/2019/ND-CP amended Decree 99/2015/ND-CP guiding the implementation of the Housing Law.
– Decree 99/2015/ND-CP is overseeing the implementation of the Housing Law.
– Real Estate Business Law No. 66/2014/QH13, dated November 25, 2014.
– Circular 19/2016/TT-BXD guiding the implementation of some contents of the Housing Law.
– Decree No. 99/2015/ND-CP dated October 20, 2015, of the Government, is detailing and overseeing the implementation of some articles of the Housing Law (valid from June 30, 2016).
II. Regulations on foreigners buying houses in Vietnam in 2019
1. Foreigners are allowed to own and buy homes in Vietnam in 2019
Foreign individuals or organizations permitted to own houses in Vietnam include those who are living and operating in Vietnam or are investing in housing construction under projects in Vietnam.
Foreign individuals or organizations investing in the construction of houses under projects in Vietnam have the same rights and obligations as those of domestic entities. However, foreign individuals or organizations have certain limitations:
– For an apartment building (including those with mixed-use purposes), foreign individuals or organizations may only own no more than 30% of the total number of apartments (for residential purposes). In case an apartment building has many units or blocks with the same foundation, foreign individuals or organizations may only own no more than 30% of the total number of apartments (for purposes of residence) of each unit or block.
– The determination of the number of separate houses (including adjacent houses, independent houses, and villas) owned by
foreign individuals or organizations is prescribed as follows:
a) In an area with a population equivalent to a ward-level administrative unit having only one housing investment project, foreign individuals or organizations are allowed to own no more than 10% of the total number of separate houses and no more than 250 homes. In case there are two or more projects, foreign individuals or organizations are allowed to own no more than 10% of the total number of separate houses in each project. And they are allowed to own a total number of different homes in all projects that do not exceed 250 houses.
b) In an area with a population equal to a ward-level administrative unit, there are many housing investment projects where foreign individuals or organizations already own a sufficient number of separate houses as prescribed in Point an of this
Clause; they are not allowed to buy and own more separate dwellings in other projects of this area.
– The population in a housing construction investment project is determined according to the construction planning scheme approved by competent authorities. The equivalent community of a ward-level administrative unit is devised following the law on the organization of local Government.
2. The time that foreigners are allowed to own houses according to the provisions of Vietnamese law in 2019
Foreign individuals are permitted to own homes no more than 50 years from the date of being granted the certificate.
International organizations are allowed to own houses not exceeding the time limit stated in the investment certificate.
Foreign individuals are allowed to lease houses for purposes not prohibited by law and pay taxes according to the provisions of law. International organizations are only allowed to use homes for employees working at such organizations (for residential purposes, not for other purposes).
The payment for the purchase, lease-purchase of a house must be made through a credit institution operating in Vietnam.
Foreign individuals marrying Vietnamese citizens have the same rights and obligations as Vietnamese citizens.
Before the expiration of house ownership, the owner may give or sell the house to another party. If past this time limit the owner does nothing, it will belong to the State.
3. Forms of house ownership of foreigners in Vietnam
Clause 2, Article 159 of the Housing Law 2014 regulates the type of housing ownership of foreign individuals or organizations in Vietnam, including:
Investment in housing construction under projects in Vietnam under the Housing Law and relevant laws.
Buying, lease-purchasing, receiving or inheriting commercial houses, including condominium apartments and separate houses in housing construction investment projects. (Except for housing projects in areas that ensure national defense and security as prescribed by the Government of Vietnam).
Therefore, foreigners have the right to buy houses in Vietnam.
4. Conditions, rights, and obligations of foreigners buying homes in Vietnam
Foreign individuals or organizations investing in the construction of houses under projects in Vietnam, when owning houses in Vietnam, must meet the following conditions:
– Having an investment certificate.
– There are houses built in the project following the Housing Law.
For foreign organizations that are foreign-invested enterprises, branches or representative offices of foreign enterprises, overseas investment funds, and foreign bank branches operating in Vietnam:
When buying a house in Vietnam, there must be an investment certificate or papers related to being permitted to work in Vietnam (from now on collectively referred to as investment certificates), granted by competent state agencies.
For foreign individuals buying houses in Vietnam:
Being allowed to enter Vietnam, not entitled to diplomatic privileges or immunities according to the provisions of law (Clause 3, Article 160 of the Housing Law 2014).
For foreign organizations being foreign-invested enterprises, branches or representative offices of foreign enterprises, overseas investment funds, branches of foreign banks operating in Vietnam, and foreigners who buy houses in Vietnam are only allowed to own homes when:
– Only buy, rent-purchase, receive, inherit, and possess no more than 30% of the number of apartments in an apartment building. In the case of detached houses, including villas and adjacent homes, in an area with the population equivalent to a ward-level administrative unit, it is allowed to buy, rent-purchase, receive, inherit and own no more than 250 houses.
– For foreign individuals, they are allowed to own homes under agreements in a house sale, lease-purchase, gifting or inheritance contracts but for no more than 50 years (counting from the date of the certificate) and may be extended according to the Government’s regulations if required. The term of house ownership must be clearly stated in the document.
– In case a foreign individual marries a Vietnamese citizen or a Vietnamese citizen residing overseas, he/she is entitled to own stable, long-term, and have the rights of homeowners like Vietnamese citizens.
– Foreign organizations may own houses under agreements in house purchase, sale, lease-purchase, gifting or inheritance contracts. But the maximum time does not exceed the period stated in the investment certificate issued to that organization, including the extended period. The house ownership period is calculated from the time the organization is granted the license and clearly stated in it.
– In cases where an area with a population equivalent to a ward-level administrative unit has an investment project on construction of commercial houses, including separate homes for sale:
According to Article 76 of Decree 99/2015/ND-CP, foreign individuals are allowed to own some different houses according to the following provisions:
– In case there is only one project with the number of separate dwellings of less than 2,500 apartments, foreign individuals or organizations are allowed to own no more than 10% of the total houses in that project.
– In case there is only one project with the number of separate dwellings equivalent to 2,500 homes, foreign individuals or organizations are allowed to own no more than 250 apartments.
– In case there are two or more projects with the total number of separate houses not exceeding 2,500 homes, foreign individuals or organizations may own no more than 10% of the number of houses of each project.
5. Some exceptions of foreigners are not allowed to buy real estate projects in Vietnam
According to Point a, Clause 1, Article 76 of Decree 99/2015/ND-CP: Foreigners can only purchase specific projects in Vietnam. There will be a list of particular housing investment projects in areas that foreign individuals or organizations are not allowed to own (the Department of Construction will publish it on the web portal).
6. Procedures for buying a house for foreigners in Vietnam in 2019
Under the Housing Law 2014, methods for foreign individuals to conduct housing purchase and sale transactions in Vietnam are prescribed as follows:
Step 1: Prepare all necessary documents to prove eligibility for housing ownership in Vietnam.
Step 2: Sign housing purchase contracts. The contract must contain the contents as prescribed in Article 121 of the Housing Law 2014 and must be notarized or certified. According to Article 121, Clause 1, Article 122, and Clause 1, Article 123 of the Housing Law 2014.
Step 3: Procedures for granting ownership certificates.
Based on Clause 2, Article 9 of the Housing Law 2014, the procedure for issuing a certificate to the homeowner is done by the law on land.
– An application for a certificate of housing ownership in the form prescribed in Circular 23/2014/TT-BTNMT (Form 04/DK).
– Copies of papers proving the legal formation of the house.
All records will be submitted at the land use right and housing ownership registration office. After receiving the file, this office will inspect it. In case the dossier is not valid or incomplete as prescribed by law, after three days from the date of receiving it, the receiving authority will give notice of return and guide the applicant to complete it under the law.
Step 4: Fulfill financial obligations.
Step 5: Receive a certificate of house ownership.
Besides, Clause 2, Article 76 of Decree 99/2015/ND-CP clarifies this issue: “Foreign individuals or organizations entitled to own houses in Vietnam may only buy or rent-purchase houses from investors of housing construction projects. The purchase of houses by foreign individuals or organizations prescribed at Point b, Clause 4, Article 7 of this Decree. They are allowed to inherit or receive houses of households and individuals. And they are allowed to receive houses at housing construction investment projects in the quantities specified in Clauses 3 and 4 of this Article. Foreign individuals or organizations that are donated or inherited houses in Vietnam but are not eligible to own houses in Vietnam shall settle under Article 78 of this Decree.