I am a German married to a Vietnamese woman. We are currently residing in Germany while my wife still holds the Vietnamese citizenship.
We visit my wife’s family in Vietnam every two or three years and want to buy an apartment in Vietnam for stay during our visits. I was advised by her family that the apartment should be bought and registered under the name of one of her family’s members.
So, can my wife buy and own the apartment under her own name without any registration of permanent residence in Vietnam? Will the apartment be recovered by the State if we do not frequently use it?
As your wife still holds the Vietnamese citizenship though she does not frequently reside in Vietnam, her citizen rights and obligations are always guaranteed by Vietnam’s law under Article 5 of the 2008 Law on Vietnamese citizenship. Vietnam’s law has no provisions restricting the rights and obligations of Vietnamese citizens who are not permanently residing in the country.
Regarding house ownership
Under the 2014 Housing Law, houses are recognized as private property and are not subject to the state management. The Vietnamese State protects the right to housing and lawful house ownership of house owners. Only in case of necessity, may the State decide on compulsory purchase, requisition, preemptive purchase or demolition of houses, provided compensations are paid and resettlement is provided to lawful owners of such houses under Articles 4 and 5 of the Housing Law. Therefore, your wife has the right to own a house or an apartment though she is not permanently residing in Vietnam.
As per Article 10 of the Housing Law, she has the following rights:
- The right to inviolability of the house under her lawful ownership;
- To use the house for the residential purpose and other purposes not banned by law;
- To be granted a certificate for the house under her lawful ownership in accordance with the Housing Law and Land Law;
- To sell, transfer purchase and sale contracts, lease, put for lease-purchase, donate, exchange, bequeath, mortgage, contribute as capital, lend, permit stay at, or authorize management of, the house. In case of donation or bequeathal of the house to a person ineligible to own houses in Vietnam, such person is entitled only to the value of the house;
- To use public-utility facilities in the housing area in accordance with the Housing Law and relevant laws.
In case of an apartment, your wife will have the right to commonly own and use areas under the common ownership and infrastructure facilities for common use of the apartment building, except works constructed for commercial purposes or handover to the State in accordance with law or under an agreement in the apartment purchase and sale or lease-purchase contract;
- To maintain, renovate, demolish or reconstruct the house;
- To receive compensations as provided by law upon demolition, compulsory purchase or requisition by the State or receive a payment from the State at the market price for preemptive purchase of the house for use for national defense, security or socio-economic development purpose or the public interest or in a state of war or emergency or in response to a natural disaster;
- To file complaints, denunciations or lawsuits against infringements upon her lawful ownership and other violations of the housing law.
|A realty broker introduces information about housing projects to foreign customers__Photo: Internet|
Regarding land use rights
As per Article 125 of the 2013 Land Law, land used by households or individuals for residential purpose is regarded as land used for a long and stable term, and is not bound to any land use term. Therefore, your wife with her name written in the land use rights certificate may wholly use and decide on her residential land without being restricted by term. Her land use rights may only be terminated in case the State has to recover the land or revoke the land use rights certificate.
As specified in Articles 61, 62, 64 and 65 of the Land Law, cases of land recovery include:
- For national defense or security purpose (for military barracks; construction of a military base or national defense work; construction of a military railway station or port);
- For socio-economic development in the national or public interest (implementation of projects decided by the National Assembly or Prime Minister, or approved by provincial-level People’s Councils);
- As a sanction for a violation of the Land Law (land is not used for registered purposes; land user intentionally damages the land; land was allocated or leased to an ineligible person or ultra vires);
- Due to the termination of land use in accordance with law, voluntary return of land or risks threatening human life (organization to which the land is allocated by the State is dissolved, goes bankrupt or moves to another place; individual land user dies without any heir; land user returns the land voluntarily; land is located in a polluted area which poses a risk threatening human life).
In addition, the State may revoke a land use rights certificate when:
- The whole land area is recovered in one of the four above-mentioned cases;
- The certificate is renewed;
- The land user registers for a change in the land or land-attached property for which a new certificate of land use rights and ownership of houses and land-attached property is required; or,
- The certificate has been granted ultra vires (to an ineligible land user, for an incorrect land area or improper land use purpose).
In light of the above provisions, the seldom presence and residence in Vietnam of you and your wife do not constitute a reason for recovery of your wife’s house or land use rights certificate.-