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Properties in limbo with title law   2009-09-13 - VNS

HCM City Property Trading Floor staff inform an investor about real estate projects. The number of the city’s real estate transactions has decreased sharply since August 1, when a law decreeing that ownership of a house and the land it sits on must be on the same title became effective.

The number of real estate transactions has decreased sharply since August 1, when a law providing that ownership of a house and the use of the land it sits on must be on the same title became effective, according to statistics from public notary offices in several districts.

Previously, ownership of a house could be held on one title, and the right to use the land under the house on a separate title. Under the now months-old law relating to capital construction investment amended by the National Assembly, structures and their land use right are counted as one piece of property.

According to the new legal regulation, the right to use the land and the ownership of the house will be certified in one title instead of two. This eliminates the possibility of one person owning a piece of property and a different person owning the building on that land.

But district officials complain that they have not yet received the new united title form or any guidance as how to process property transactions – the number of which, therefore, have greatly declined.

The vice chairman of Binh Tan District People’s Committee, Huynh Van Biet, said since the early last month, the committee had received 5,000 files relating to the issue of ownership that his office could not complete.

In Binh Chanh District, the director of the land-use right registration office, Trang Si Tuoi, said the lack of forms was gumming up the work at many stages.

Some residents with properties on the market have the legal documents but, without the new title form, cannot accept any bids and have lost money waiting to sell. In other cases, customers have already purchased houses but cannot transfer their names to the new, not-yet-existent ownership titles.

More than 120 real estate documents were sent to the Public Notary Office No7 in District 6 in July; they received nearly half that number in August.

That doesn’t surprise Nguyen Thi Kim Chi, from Public Notary Office No.4 in Tan Binh District, where many residents have postponed getting their land- or house-sale contracts notarised.

As a temporary solution, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MRNE) has suggested to the Prime Minister that the Government revert to the old system of granting two property ownership titles, at least until the new forms are ready, according to Phung Van Nghe, acting head of the General Department of Land Administration under the MNRE.

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