In the complicated situation of the Covid-19 epidemic, the Government continued to implement policies to restrict entry to Vietnam, thus many transactions were canceled or delayed. That has caused many obstacles for foreign individuals and organizations wishing to perform transactions in Vietnam. We refer to the transfer of home ownership for foreign individuals who cannot enter Vietnam to participate in signing transfer contracts and other related transactions i.e. sell or buy an apartment or a house located in Vietnam.
Pursuant to the law on housing, foreign organizations and individuals have the right to own house in Vietnam, before the time limit of the homeownership, the homeowner is entitled to gift or sell their house(s) to entities eligible for the homeownership in Vietnam; if not, their house(s) shall be under ownership of the State. Regarding the house ownership term, if a foreign organization or individual sells or gifted to a domestic organization, household, individual, or a Vietnamese citizen residing overseas, the buyer or recipient will acquire a long-term ownership of the house. If the house is sold to a foreign organization or individual eligible to own housing in Vietnam, the buyer or recipient may own the house for the remaining period. When this period expires, if the owner wishes to have this period extended, the State shall consider granting an extension. The seller or giver must pay tax and other amounts to state budget as prescribed by Vietnam’s law.
In accordance with the law on housing transactions, the seller or transferor of the commercial house sale and purchase contract must meet the following conditions:
- He/she is the homeowner, or the person permitted and authorized by the homeowner to enter into housing as prescribed in this Law and law on civil; if the agreement of commercial housing is transferred, he must be the buyer for housing of the investor or the transferee of the agreement on housing sale;
- If the entity is a person, he must have full civil capacity to enter into transactions in housing as prescribed in law on civil; if the entity is an organization, it must have legal personality.
Article 195 of the 2015 Civil Code stipulates: “A person who is not an owner of property has the right to dispose of property only under the authorization of the owner or according to the provisions of law.”
Clause 2 Article 55 of the Law on Notarization 2014 stipulates: “In case both the authorizing party and authorized party cannot appear together at the same notarial practice organization, the authorizing party shall request the notarial practice organization of the place of residence of the authorizing party to notarize the authorization contract; the authorized party shall request the notarial practice organization of the place of residence of the authorized party to further notarize the original of this authorization contract and complete procedures for notarization of the authorization contract.”
In order to perform the house purchase and sale transaction or in other words to buy an apartment or sell a house in Vietnam, the parties to the house transaction need to agree to make a sale contract or a document on the transfer of a commercial house sale and purchase contract. In case a foreign house owner cannot enter directly to sign a contract, he/she may authorize another individual or organization in Vietnam to perform instead. However, the authorization document needs to be notarized at the competent authority. In case a power of attorney is notarized at a competent agency in a foreign country, it is required to be notarized, legalized, and authenticated in accordance with regulations of the foreigner country (apostille) before that document can be used in Vietnam.