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Fire scare sends condo transactions in HCMC down
Le Anh
Wednesday,  Apr 4, 2018,20:09 (GMT+7)

Fire scare sends condo transactions in HCMC down

Le Anh

City sets service charges at condo buildings

A cluster of condo buildings in HCMC is seen in this file photo. The number of apartment transactions in HCMC has tumbled following a deadly fire at the Carina Plaza condo complex in District 8 that killed 13 late last month - PHOTO: LE ANH

HCMC – The fire scare triggered by a blaze at the Carina Plaza condo complex late last month has led apartment transactions in HCMC to tumble, with one estimate put the fall at 20%, according to data shown at a seminar here in the city on April 3.

Nguyen Minh Khang, general director of HCMC-based LDG Group, told a seminar on safety solutions to apartment fires organized by Thanh Nien newspaper on April 3 that after the fire at the Carina Plaza in District 8, many customers have become reluctant to purchase apartments.

The number of apartment transactions at his company has fallen by an estimated 20% against the previous weeks. However, Khang said the decrease seems short-lived, so it would not affect his business as the company has pursued a long-term business strategy.

Other property developers also admitted to poorer business in the aftermath of the fire.

Truong Anh Tu, business development director at Phuc Khang Corporation, said the number of the company’s potential customers has slightly declined, partly owing to the Carina blaze.

Truong Quoc Dung, deputy general director of Hung Thinh Corporation, shared the same view as Khang and Tu, saying that his company has sought to psych up potential homebuyers as well as existing customers at its condo apartments by engaging residents in some hands-on experience of fire fighting and prevention activities, thereby giving them peace of mind.

He said his company has installed extra fire extinguishers at the public areas of its apartments such as basements. It has spent VND3 billion providing each household with a mini fire extinguisher free of charge.

Meanwhile, Khang of LDP said the company has spent VND10 billion to hire a foreign partner to write software for detecting fires.

Nguyen Thanh Hai, head of the Housing and Office Management Division under the HCMC Department of Construction, said there remain problems at several condo buildings in the city. Hai said in the city there are still seven apartment buildings whose fire fighting and prevention activities have yet to be assessed, but the investors of such buildings have allowed its customers to move in.

He said the construction department has proposed the municipal government come up with solutions to guarantee the legitimate rights and benefits of local residents instead of forcing them out of their houses during the assessment process.

The Carina inferno late last month killed 13 people, injured nearly 100 others, destroyed 150 motorcycles and five cars, and damaged 10 other cars. The deadly fire was attributed to a short circuit at a scooter’s wiring in the parking area of the building.

* The HCMC government has introduced a price list for operating and managing condos in HCMC, with monthly service fees ranging from VND500 to VND6,000 per square meter, effective from April 10, news website reports.

Accordingly, the monthly fees payable by residents are between VND500 and VND3,000 per square meter for high-rise buildings without lifts, while the services in those having elevators are between VND1,500 and VND6,000.

Such services, exclusive of value-added tax, are to control, maintain operation and carry out routine maintenance of basic facilities at condo buildings such as elevators, water pumps, alarm bells and backup equipment. Such fees also cover services of security, environmental protection, clean-up and gardening.

However, the mentioned charges exclude value-added services such as sauna, swimming pool, the Internet, tennis court, cable TV and others.

The range of charges is not applicable to old State-owned apartments, and dormitories for students and workers.

In case of disputes between building operators and residents over monthly fees, the new service charges can be invoked to settle any disagreement.

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