Apartment building means any multi-story building that has multiple apartments, public stairs, hallways, private areas, common areas, and common infrastructural works for organizations, households, or individuals, including apartment buildings for residential use and mixed-use buildings for both business and residential purposes – Clause 3, Article 3 of the Law on Housing 2014. Regarding the above definition, can the enterprises be headquartered in an apartment building?

1. Headquarters of the enterprise

Article 42 of the Enterprise Law 2020 stipulates that the headquarters of an enterprise is located in the territory of Vietnam, is the contact address of the enterprise, and is determined according to administrative boundaries; has a phone number, fax number, and email (if any).

According to the above regulations, it can be seen that the headquarters of the enterprise is not necessarily the place where the enterprise conducts production and business activities or where there is a permanent residence of the legal representative. The enterprises may have multiple businesses in different places, but the headquarters has only one. To avoid confusion with the addresses of branches, representative offices, or business locations of enterprises, they are often called the headquarters of the enterprise.

The headquarters address of the enterprise must be officially registered with the business registration authority. In case an enterprise changes its new address, it is necessary to register and notify the competent authorities related to the execution of this change.

2. Provisions of law on the location of the enterprise’s headquarters in the apartment

Based on the purpose of the apartment building, in clause 4, clause 5, Article 3 of the Regulation on management and use of apartment buildings promulgated with Circular 02/2016/TT-BXD, apartment buildings are divided into 02 following types:

  • Residential-purpose apartment buildings are designed and built solely for residential purposes.
  • Mixed-use apartment buildings are designed and built for residential and other purposes such as offices, services, and commerce.

Regarding the above provisions, it can be understood that in the case of a residential-purpose apartment building, individuals and organizations are not allowed to use it for other purposes (including located as the head office of the enterprise). As the mixed-use apartment buildings, it is still possible to set up business headquarters.

In addition, according to the direction of the Ministry of Construction in Official Letter No. 2544/BXD-QLN dated 19/11/2009, for multi-story buildings with mixed-use that can separate offices from living areas, these offices should be arranged and managed as for business buildings, service. In case the apartment is used on a production, business, sales, or warehouse basis, affecting the activities of the residential community in an apartment building, timely corrective measures must be taken.

Parallelly, Decree No. 99/2015/ND-CP dated 20/10/2015 in clause 7, Article 80 stipulates: 

“In the case in the business registration document issued by a competent agency, it is stated that the apartment is used as a business location before the effective date of the Housing Law, the organization, households and individuals granted this business registration document must transfer their business activities to another location other than apartments within six months from the effective date of this Decree; The agency competent to issue business registration papers must carry out procedures for adjustment of the business location stated in the business registration papers issued to organizations, households or individuals to another location within the time limit specified in this Clause; After the time limit specified in this Clause, organizations, households and individuals may not do business in apartments”

In short, when enterprises want to locate an apartment, they must consider the function of the apartment where they plan to be located. Therefore, for mixed-use apartment buildings, they can be set as business headquarters. In this case, when carrying out business registration procedures, individuals and organizations need to present documents proving that the condominium they intend to place as the headquarters of the enterprise is a “mixed-use condominium”, shown through some documents as follows:

  • Decision approving the project of a competent state agency (with a detailed address of the office registered by the enterprise that is not part of the residential purpose apartment building);
  • Certificate of the investor or apartment management board that the address of the enterprise headquarters intended to register does not belong to the residential purpose apartments;
  • The transfer contract, office lease contract, certificate of the People’s Committee or other competent agency may show the contents of the address of the headquarters of the enterprise intended to be registered that does not belong to the residential purpose apartment.

Thus, to minimize unnecessary costs and risks, when enterprises intend to set up their headquarters in an apartment, it is necessary to carefully learn about the function of the apartment as well as a need to contact and confirm from the investor or the apartment management board that it is a mixed-use apartment, in other words, allowed to operate business.

The article is based on laws applicable at the time noted as above and may no longer be appropriate at the time the reader approaches this article as the applicable laws and the specific cases that the reader may wish to apply may have changed. Therefore, the article is for referencing only.