Recently, owning houses in Vietnam attracts great attention of foreigners especially those who wish to live or stay in Vietnam. How to own a house in Vietnam currently becomes the question that many foreign organization and individuals are keen to look for. In this article, we would like to offer a brief guidance on how a Foreigner should be able to acquire a house in Vietnam subject to the current Law on Housing No.65/2014/QH13 dated November 25, 2014 (the “Law on Housing”).
Conditions for Foreigners to buy houses in Vietnam
According to the Law on Housing, both foreign individuals and organizations (hereafter to be mentioned as “Foreigners”) are allowed to buy commercial houses including apartments and separate houses in housing construction investment projects (except for houses in areas under management relating to national defense and security as prescribed by the Government). In order to do so, the following conditions should be satisfied:
For organizations: A foreign organization must have an Investment Registration Certificate or an equivalent to prove its operation in Vietnam, any of which is still valid at the time of signing the house purchase contract.
For individuals: A foreign individual should have a valid passport with entry verification stamp of competent authority upon immigration and is not entitled to diplomatic and consular privileges and immunities.
Restrictions on house ownership
Ownership of houses by Foreigners is restricted by the Law on Housing. Specifically, in an apartment building, Foreigners meeting the conditions of owning houses as specified above are not allowed to surpass a threshold of ownership of 30% of total number of apartments in such building. In an area having population of a ward-level administrative unit, no more than 250 separate houses are owned by Foreigners in each housing project.
Regarding specific number of houses that foreigners are allowed to own (specifically, the total number of houses that foreigners can own in each housing construction investment project that is allowed to be owned by Foreigners, and the maximum number of houses that each foreigner is allowed to own) will be public on the Portal of the Department of Construction of that area according to decisions of The Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Public Security. In other words, the maximum number of houses that Foreigners can own in each area will depend to certain decision of competent authorities.
House ownership duration
Maximum duration that foreign individuals can own houses in Vietnam is 50 years with possibility of an extension. For foreign organizations, they may own houses for a maximum period not exceeding the time limit stated in the Investment Certificate issued to that organization, including the extended period.
If Foreigners are allowed to lease to third parties the houses
Foreign individuals who meet the conditions to own houses are allowed to lease to third parties as long as they do not use it for purposes prohibited by lawsForeign individuals who meet the conditions to own houses are allowed to lease to third parties as long as they do not use it for purposes prohibited by laws. However, the authorities will manage the rental of houses by foreign individuals. Specifically, before renting a house, the foreign individual must send written notice on house rental to the competent authority related to houses of the district where the house is located. In addition, foreign individuals are responsible for paying taxes related to the rental of houses in accordance with the law.
In case the houses’ owners are foreign organizations, their houses are only allowed to serve their employees. In other words, foreign organizations are not allowed to use houses for rent, offices, or other purposes.
Transfer of the house ownership
Foreigners are strictly prohibited from buying houses to resale for other business purposes. In case Foreigners no longer need to use houses, they can have them resold to Vietnamese organizations and individuals for owning. In addition, if houses are transferred to other foreign organizations or individuals, the latter may enjoy ownership during remaining terms of such houses.
We hope the above is informative and helpful. If you have any question related to the captioned matter, we remain available upon your request. Please feel free to contact D’andrea&Partners Legal Counsel at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
 Article 79.8 of Decree No. 99/2015/ND-CP dated October 20, 2015 of the Government detailing and guiding the implementation of a number of articles of the Law on Housing.
 Article 7.4 of Decree No. 99/2015/ND-CP.