Defiant Chinese ‘nail house’ owner refuses to budge, blocking traffic

Chinese ‘nail house’ blocks roads and traffic as defiant home owner refuses to let developers demolish it

  • A three-storey house has defiantly stood in the middle of a road in Zhengzhou city, central China since 2016
  • New set of images shows the barricaded house taking up two entire lanes of a busy motorway
  • The homeowner had refused to accept compensation from a property developer for its demolition
  • Buildings as such are known as ‘dingzihu’ or ‘nail houses’ because they refused to be hammered down

A house defiantly stands in the middle of a road in central China after its owner refused to make way for the country’s booming real estate developments.

The three-storey house in Zhengzhou city, Henan province is one of many examples of ‘nail houses’ in China – or ‘dingzihu’ in Chinese – where homeowners refuse to accept compensation from a developer for its demolition. 

They are so called because they stick out and are difficult to remove, like a stubborn nail. 

As a result, four lanes of traffic on the Zhengzhou motorway are forced to squeeze into two, with cars having to cross the double yellow lines onto oncoming traffic in order to bypass the inconveniently located property.

The three-storey house in Zhengzhou city, Henan province defiantly stands in the middle of the road in central China

The house is one of many examples of ‘nail houses’ in China, where owners refuse to accept compensation from developers

The residents of the house have lived there since October 2016, when the road was completed and opened to traffic


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The residents of the house have lived there since October 2016, when the road was completed and opened to traffic, according to iFeng. 

The owner of the house could not reach an agreement with the relevant local authorities on compensation for its demolition, according the report. 

Images emerged recently show the 1,000-square-metre (11,000-square-foot ) property bizarrely perched across the motorway after the owners refused to sell up.

Its large yard is seen extending into two whole lanes of the busy road. 

Aerial images show the Zhengzhou home’s large yard extending into two entire lanes of the busy motorway

The owner of the house could not reach an agreement with the relevant local authorities on compensation for the demolition

Trucks, coaches and cars are seen cautiously waiting for the traffic to clear on each side of the property before proceeding

Trucks, buses and cars are seen cautiously waiting for the traffic to clear on each side of the barricaded property before proceeding. 

The ‘nail house’ phenomenon is far from being rare. In fact, there are thousands of such homes across the country.

China has been undergoing rapid urbanisation in the past decade, with many roads being widened or built in order to accommodate larger traffic volume.

Property owners in cities are often asked to relocate in order to make way for these new urban projects.

The government has passed a series of regulations to protect the land rights of holdout tenants, including outlawing the use of violence during evictions.  

The ‘nail house’ phenomenon is far from being rare. In fact, there are thousands of examples across the country

A nail house, the last building in the area, sits in the middle of a road under construction in south China’s Nanning city

Rules also stipulated that market rate compensation must be paid to relocated residents. 

However, when homeowners refuse compensation, developers must come up with creative ways to build around their homes.

As a result, these houses are often left awkwardly standing on their own in the middle of roads, construction sites, high-rise buildings, or nowhere. 

One house in Wenling, Zhejiang province, had a main road built around it when the couple living there refused to move in 2012. 

However, there have also been cases when ‘nail house’ owners asked for large amount of compensation from property developers in a bid to improve their life quality significantly through a relocation. 

Last house standing: A car stops beside a house in the middle of a newly built road in Wenling, Zhejiang province

Cut off: A six-floor villa on the construction site in the central business district of Shenzhen

A woman walks towards her partially demolished nail house (back) in Rui’an, Zhejiang province

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