Occupants of four public apartment blocks in Hai Phong City have seen their rents increased by seven to 10 times but authorities have promised a rollback.
They announced the increases on December 1, saying it was to recoup the construction costs of the buildings in Ngo Quyen and Le Chan districts they built to replace decrepit apartments that had been deteriorating for long and were at risk of collapse.
“I have not been able to sleep for the last three days,” Nguyen Van Thang, 65, a resident of building N1 Le Loi, said.
The building was completed in 2017 and Thang’s family was allotted a 40-square-meter apartment on the third floor in place of its old apartment in the torn-down building.
Nguyen Van Thang, a resident of N1 Le Loi apartment building in Ngo Quyen District, Hai Phong City. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tan
For the last two years the government has only been demanding VND400,000 a month from his family, but recently hiked the rent to over VND3.9 million, a nearly 10-fold rise.
“My wife and I do not get pensions, and together we make around VND4 million a month. I have my mother to take care of, and we do not know where to get the money to pay rent.”
Thang is among nearly 2,700 people who were allotted new apartments in seven new blocks the city built to replace 18 old ones.
Many of the old ones, built in 1975-80, had wall cracks and leaking roofs.
Ho Thi Hien, also a resident of N1 Le Loi, said she was “devastated” after learning that the rents have surged.
“The government has been letting me rents at low price, but now that the prices have risen above my ability to pay.”
Ho Thi Hien, a resident, of N1 Le Loi apartment building in Ngo Quyen District, Hai Phong City. Photo by VnExpress/Le Tan
Tran Thi Xuyen, 81, and her blind husband live on a VND5 million pension and no other income. They live in a 42-square-meter apartment and are aghast by the rent hike.
“How can we pay such high rents? I hope the city will reconsider,” the resident of D2, where 180 families, mostly comprising seniors and low-income workers, live, said.
Residents use plastic covers to prevent leakage in A6 apartment building, a deteriorating construction in Hai Phong City. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Thao
Hai Phong construction department director Nguyen Thanh Hung said the new rents are based on current regulations on recouping investment in new infrastructure.
But he said the city People’s Committee has tasked his department with finding a way to support the occupants of the four buildings.
“We will announce new rents that are affordable.”
He said the announcements would be made early next year.
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