Mr X from Texas received a job offer which requires him to move to Vietnam. Though the offer looks great and the whole experience seems adventurous and promising but still he is in two minds. After all, he has a family and wishes to have a safe and secure future in a new country.
Ho Chi Minh is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in Vietnam. It has always attracted foreigners from all over the world. For more than 150 years, people from overseas have found here a home away from home. It’s the opportunity that drives them to settle here, though with time the skill gap between expats and locals are diminishing. As reported by some experts, Ho Chi Minh City remains one of the top cities where foreigners prefer to work in Southeast Asia. To settle down in a place, the first and foremost requirement is housing. Ho Chi Minh being one of the most expensive cities in Vietnam, here the real estate price vary widely. Home prices have surged in leading cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh due to their robust economies and population inflows. Long-term expats complain that expenses have skyrocketed in past a few years. The days are long past when a modern, centrally located, a one-bedroom apartment would cost no more than 400 USD. Prices have more than doubled, depending on the area.
But so has scams. Social media and smartphones have changed the game plan a bit, but still many fall prey to frauds who cash on people’s inexperience.
Following are the things one should keep in mind while renting a residence in Ho Chi Minh.
1. Visit the property in the daytime to understand the place. Watch out for construction noise, foul smell etc. Also, do not forget to switch on the lights and electric appliances to check whether they are working. It is also important to check the drainage by flushing the toilet and opening the tap of the washbasin.
2. Make sure it is a residential apartment, cross check with the landlord. In Vietnam, some places can only be rented as an office space or other specific types of usage.
3. It is better not to rent a shared apartment from locals who don’t live in that apartment because many times they are representatives of some agency.
4. It’s illegal to sublet an apartment unless there is such provision in the contract with the landlord. If you happen to rent from a subletter, make sure to meet the real owner and inform them about yourself and that you are paying your rent to the subletter. Again, don’t forget to cross check the original contract.
5. If someone shows you an empty apartment and says the person will just move in and wish to rent the extra room, then brace yourself; you might be cheated. Often such frauds take the deposit and disappear leaving a locked apartment for you on the day you move there.
6. Ask for a real contract. Do check the address and make everything clear including the appliance and fixtures provided in the apartment. The address is important as one have to register it at the nearest police station.
7. It is always advisable to ask for a copy of the passport or ID card of the person you are dealing with. Also, it would be smart to write down a short contract about the discussed terms and get it signed by them. If there is anything fishy they will not be keen on signing and providing their id card. This will also help you to prove your ground in front of the police in case anything goes wrong.
8. Always, always take a receipt for the deposit or instalment or anything you have paid for the rented place and better if you can get it signed by them.
9. Never bank transfer any money to the landlord of an apartment unless you have seen the apartment personally. Key-Scam in Vietnam is quite well known. It is where the landlord asks the potential tenant to deposit some amount via bank transfer promising to send the key via courier. Once the amount is transferred the key never reaches the tenant.
10. In Vietnam, it is illegal to use a temporary partition to divide an already constructed structure in order to rent. If you are shown a room which seems to be modified to make additional smaller rooms, just turn away from there. It is illegal to even stay at such place and you can be kicked out even after you have made the payment.
11. Many people suggest changing the keys after moving into the apartment for security and privacy because most of the times the agency might still have a key. It is also advised to inform the owner about the change of the key.
12. In Ho Chi Minh City, the security deposit for the rented place is either one or two months rent. So a person needs to pay the deposit and one month rent before moving in. Most owners prefer a regular payment schedule for rent, it can be every month or every two months. Most important thing after renting is to register yourself at the nearest police station along with the original contract. Insist the landlord or the agent to accompany you to the police station for registration.
Then, again not all people are bad there are plenty of good helpful souls around the city. Try to find a reputed and well-known agency that has great records and visit their website to scan through their listed properties.