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High registration fees are discouraging residents from collecting land-use certificates, which confirm their rights to use their homes.

Piles of uncollected certificates are sitting at district offices, according to the head of Ha Noi Natural Resources, Environment and Land Department’s Statistics Registration Office, Nguyen Van Quang

The Ha Noi People’s Committee has issued 65,000 land use certificates. People, however, are not interested in collecting them as most of them live in the outlying districts of Hoang Mai, Dong Anh and Gia Lam.

Each household in these districts is granted a land use certificate for around 300sq.m of land.

As registration fees are based on land value, residents have to pay, on average, between VND3 million and 5 million to collect the papers.

Many people are saying that they can’t afford anything more than VND1 million to 2 million.

Gia Lam District has granted 12,000 land use certificates, but only 100 people collected their papers. Head of Gia Lam District’s Natural Resources and Environment Bureau Lai Thuy Nga said most people in the district were on low incomes and couldn’t afford the fees.

Since many people are not anticipating buying or selling their land now or in the near future, few felt the need to pick up the papers.

"It’s hard for us just to earn VND1 million," said local Nguyen Van Nam.

"Why should we spend from VND3 and 4 million to pick up a land-use certificate just to keep it in the closet?"

Other locals in the district agreed.

Nguyen Van Canh owns a house and a garden covering 400sq.m of land. He and his wife were in no rush to pick up the papers because they would have to pay around VND3 million.

"Where should we get the money to pay for the registration fee?" asked Canh. "No one is trying to kick us out of our house."


Under existing regulations, registration fees are 1 per cent of the value of assets to a maximum of VND500 million.

People’s Committees in cities and provinces are in charge of determining registration fees depending on Government land appraisals.

According to Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh, lands are appraised by People’s Committees. Ninh noted that these fees are going up as property value continues to climb.

Residents don’t only have to fork out money for registration fees when they pick up their land use certificates. They are also asked to clear other payments, such as taxes on land use transfers, among others. With little immediate benefit of owning the papers, these other payments are further discouraging residents from picking them up.

Construction Minister Nguyen Hong Quan agreed that the current registration fee of 1 per cent of an asset’s value was too high.

To tackle the issue, the Finance Ministry has asked the Government to reduce the fee by half.

The ministry also asked the Government to exempt poor, ethnic minorities from paying the fee.

It has also been recommended that people be allowed to begin the application process, even if they can’t afford it.

The Ministry of Finance suggested they allow some cases to be effective retroactively, to ensure land rights aren’t being compromised because land owners can’t afford the fees.

The National Assembly has set a target to finish granting all land use certificates by 2010.

Vietnam Real Estate

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