The Masteri Millennium residential complex in HCMC District 4 sees people queuing for elevators on weekends, many of them tourists who are only staying for a few days.
Thu, an occupant, says that on weekdays she only needs to wait five minutes to get on the elevator, but the time increases to 15 to 20 minutes on weekends.
The building’s seventh-floor swimming pool is filled with strangers on weekends and she has no choice but to take her children elsewhere for their swimming lessons.
The gym is also packed.
Hung, another resident of the complex, says there are nights when visitors make noise until 2 a.m.
“Our high-end real estate complex has now been transformed into a hotel. People come and go freely.”
Masteri Millennium welcomed nearly 1,300 visitors in October, 78% of whom were foreigners. The building management had to deal with four security disruptions caused by them, explains Le Truong Son, its vice-president.
In another residential building in District 4, police recently arrested a group of illegal gamblers who were renting an apartment there for VND2 million ($82.02) a night.
The recent boom in Airbnb and other similar services in major cities like HCMC and Hanoi has become a source of worry and inconvenience for apartment residents due to disruptions caused by guests.
Visitors range from couples and groups of friends to families looking to stay in a luxurious apartment for a night or two without having to pay for a five-star hotel.
Facilities such as swimming pools and gyms also attract many visitors who pay only VND1-3 million per night.
Duong, an Airbnb host, said he rented four apartments long-term, renovated them and listed them on the platform at VND1.5 million per night each.
Profits over the last 12 months have been 20%, he says.
“My friends and I invested in a few more apartments in Hanoi together.”
But the lack of regulation of these companies could cause problems, analysts warn.
Than Ngoc Tung, a supervisor of real estate consultancy CBRE in Hanoi, says Airbnb-like services are booming because there is high demand and a host can list their home without any difficulty on online platforms.
But the presence of short-term visitors can create disruption in apartment buildings, as local residents feel their rights to access building features are hampered, he added.
Without proper management, people can take advantage of these services to organize illegal activities such as abusing banned drugs or gambling, he said.
Renting an apartment for short periods is actually a violation of housing law, but hosts do it due to a lack of supervision, he added.
“Regulations need to be changed to adapt to new business models.”
Le Hoang Chau, president of the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association, said laws should force Airbnb hosts to register as a business and pay taxes. They must also comply with regulations relating to residential buildings.