Long-lasting troubles of living in apartments in Vietnam

Residing in apartments in Ho Chi Minh City means living with disputes, many apartment residents have moaned.

This has been confirmed after local authorities have summed up as many as 16 kinds of disputes between residents and apartment investors in recent years.

As a result, the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City will conduct a comprehensive inspection at all 1,244 apartment buildings in the city from now till June, said Do Phi Hung, vice director of the Department of Construction and head of the inspection program.

This marks the first time the city is organizing such a check.

Problems that cause concern

The 16 disputes recognized by authorities include the misuse of common areas in apartments, the cost of management and operation of facilities, the cost of maintenance, safety for fire prevention, construction quality, the issuance of certificates of apartment ownership, public security, and sales contracts.

The city will also have a chance to correct loopholes in laws and regulations concerning the construction and management of apartments for better enforcement in the future, Hung said.

At the Bau Cat 2 apartment building in Tan Binh District, families living on the ground floor turn their private living space into cafeterias that run from the morning till midnight.

They play loud music that constantly disturbs others living on upper floors.

“Clients of the cafeterias and restaurants on the ground floor use the public restrooms of our apartments and we have to pay the cost of water and electricity for that,” said a resident named Thu.

The trouble at the Nguyen Chi Thanh apartment tenement, located at 155 Nguyen Chi Thanh Street, may be unique: the trench to contain wastewater from the toilets is open and runs through the basement used as a parking lot.

Foul odors torture residents when they enter the parking lot every day.

Le Quach Luc, a resident, pointed at the smeared walls of the trench and said, “Fluids inside this trench spill out over the floor, causing a great stink.”

The issue was reported to the Public Services Company of District 5, the developer of the apartment, but it has not been repaired.

Other problems in the city’s apartment buildings include rainwater leaking into walls and all over floors, problematic elevators, and insufficient water supply.

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The Binh Chanh Construction Investment Shareholding Company (BCCI), the developer of the Nhat Lan 3 apartment building in Tan Tao A Ward of Binh Tan District, even duped its apartment residents by refusing to build parks and flower gardens on the premises as promised.

At the apartment block located at 540/1 Cach Mang Thang 8 Street in District 3, the public area for residents has been modified as the working room for the developer.

The Phu My apartment building on Hoang Quoc Viet Street in District 7 has public facilities such as a library, a parking lot, and a gym but the developer owns them, and they are not for use by residents.

Some apartments have troublesome elevators and residents said they often get clamped by the doors or stuck inside halfway up or down.

Fatal accidents have occurred when elevator users fell down to the ground upon entering an open lift with no floor inside.

Maintenance fees
By law, the owner of an apartment pays two percent of the total value of his home for maintenance within fifteen days of receiving the apartment. But some apartment investors ask residents for higher fees.

Residents of a new apartment building cannot organize a meeting to elect their management board within that period, so the maintenance fee is often collected by the apartment building developer.

The developer later tries to find reasons to delay the handover of the sum to the representatives of apartment residents. The Keangnam apartments in Hanoi are one example where this problem has occurred.

Two percent of the entire area of the Keangnam building makes up around VND200 billion (US$9.6 million).

Residents of other apartments such as The Manor, Sky City, Golden Westlake, and Golden Palace in Hanoi have encountered similar problems with their investors.