Vietnamese apartment buyers risk living in unfinished buildings
A man is pictured at the unfinished Cao Oc Xanh apartment building in Ho Chi Minh City. Tuoi Tre
As condo projects in Vietnam tend to reach completion behind schedule, some apartment buyers do not have the patience when developers repeatedly ask them to keep waiting.
Consequently, some buyers have started moving in as soon as the unfinished buildings have the most basic utilities available, such as elevators, power and water supply.
Such apartments, however, pose numerous risks as those residential features including things like water drainage or firefighting systems are yet to undergo a construction completion inspection.
“At least we can save on the monthly rental, which could be as much as VND5 million [US$223],” V.T.N., a resident at the Cao Oc Xanh condo project in District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, said.
N. moved in her new apartment more than a year ago, when only one out of three proposed blocks of the project, developed by the No. 8 Investment and Construction JSC, was basically completed.
“We had to wait for nearly four years before moving in,” she said. “We took a risk to live there, so long as it had the power, water and elevator systems.”
However, N. and other residents at Cao Oc Xanh are facing daily difficulties caused by the incomplete infrastructure.
The whole block has only one elevator, which breaks down every three days, while the public yard is inundated whenever it rains, she said.
There are no green trees around the buildings and no space for recreation for the elders or children.
In Hanoi, 120 buyers of the Usilk City apartment complex in Ha Dong District are sharing the same hardship.
The project, developed by Song Da – Thang Long JSC, broke ground in 2008 with an investment of VND10 trillion ($446.43 million). The project was designed to feature 13 multi-purpose towers, including 2,800 apartment units and a modern trade center.
Many people paid between VND2.5 billion ($111,607) and VND4 billion ($178,571), or 50 to 80 percent of the unit value, to purchase apartments there.
However, eight years on, only 120 people have been able to move in, and the project is yet to undergo any completion inspection.
“The project’s elevator and firefighting systems are uninspected,” said Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, one of the Usilk City residents. “It also lacks a main power supply system, and the drainage system is incomplete.”
In the worst-case scenario, residents will be forced to leave those unfinished apartments, such as what happened to buyers of the Bay Hien Tower in Ho Chi Minh City last week.
Located in Tan Binh District, Bay Hien Tower consists of 170 units and is developed by Long Hung Phat Co. Ltd.
In late May, the developer transferred 14 units to buyers, allowing them to move in even though the construction company had yet to complete its utilities, posing a high risk of fire, explosion and accidents.
On June 3, the city’s construction department issued a document, recommending that residents leave the unfinished building for safety reasons.
The department recommended that buyers move to nearby rental properties, with the Bay Hien Tower developer forced to cover their rental fees.
The city’s administration and construction department have had several meetings with the developer to rectify the situation, but Long Hung Phat executives had never shown up.
The company did send some representatives to work with authorities, and said it agreed with the suggestion to have residents move out until the building is completed.
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