Writer: Thao Bui
Before the Law on Housing 2014, Vietnam’s law did not allow all kinds of Viet Kieu to own real estates in Vietnam. It caused the fact that many Viet Kieu financed their relatives in Vietnam to buy real estates and register as their nominees. If the nominee is a trusted person, there is nothing at all. But some cases, the nominee realized that (s)he is the real owner of real estates and refuses the right of Viet Kieu over such properties. However, though Law on Housing 2014 allowed Viet Kieu’s right to own houses in Vietnam, such kind of dispute between Viet Kieu and relatives has not been reducible.
By this article, BLawyers Vietnam’s real estate lawyers would like to share some notes for Viet Kieu to protect their rights over those disputes.
1. Reasons why Viet Kieu financed their relatives for buying real estates in Vietnam
Viet Kieu can be understood as: (i) a Vietnamese having Vietnamese nationality resides overseas (“Overseas Vietnamese”); or (ii) a person with Vietnamese origin residing overseas and could be determined as a foreigner as he has no Vietnamese nationality. Before Law on Housing 2014, only Viet Kieu as Overseas Vietnamese can own house in Vietnam in the following cases:
- Coming back to Vietnam for a long term investment;
- Having great contribution to Vietnam;
- Working as a cultural activist or scientist and wishing to come back to Vietnam for serving national construction;
- Coming back to Vietnam and stay for 06 months or more; or
- Other cases as the law allows.
Thus, if a Viet Kieu were not in above cases, financing relatives for buying real estates could be the sole way for him/ her to indirectly own real estates in Vietnam.
Then, Law on Housing 2014 has extended rights on own real estates in Vietnam for Viet Kieu. Accordingly, a Viet Kieu who can enter Vietnam can buy real estates in Vietnam. However, a Viet Kieu still asked his/ her relatives to register as nominees for real estates in Vietnam since:
- He/she cannot meet conditions of Vietnam’s law for owing a real estate; or
- He/she does not want to comply procedures in Vietnam for registering his/her ownership over real estates.
2. Which risks can a Viet Kieu face when financing relatives for buying real estates in Vietnam?
Here are the risks:
- Firstly, Viet Kieu is not the owner as recorded in Certificate for land use right and ownership on assets attaching to the land (“Certificate”).
- Secondly, the nominee who is named in the Certificate can transfer, lease, donate, etc. the real estates.
- Thirdly, Vietnam’s laws has not had clear regulations to protect Viet Kieu on the dispute with nominees. In fact, a dispute settlement authority like court shall flexibly apply prevailing regulations to resolve such kind of disputes.
3. Can a Viet Kieu request a relative to repay money financed for buying a house in Vietnam?
Yes, (s)he can. Per experience of BLawyers Vietnam’s lawyers, Viet Kieu should do as follows:
- Preparing fully evidences showing that Viet Kieu financed relatives for buying real estates in Vietnam on his/her behalf. The proof can be a receipt of transferring money, agreements between Viet Kieu and nominees or someone who saw/ knew the financing (witnesses).
- Considering the procedure for settling such kind of dispute at a court is complex and could take time and effort. In which, the court procedure could include first-instance hearing, appeal hearing, consideration hearing, etc. In addition, documents to court should be prepared as requested by laws for the court’s consideration.
- Considering the money amount to request nominee to repay in a relation with their contribution to real estates.
In conclusion, financing a relative for buying real estates in Vietnam of Viet Kieu is risky but Viet Kieu can request the nominee to repay the financing amount if having dispute. In which, finding legal advice from a real estate lawyer or a dispute settlement lawyer is recommendation.
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