Beijing Apartment Rental

An absolute must-read.

The Discussion: 8 Comments

No civility. No rule of law. No regard for human dignity. Thuggery as a fine art. In China none of it should be a surprise.

September 27, 2006 @ 9:47 am | Comment

What the hell? This guy didn’t even MEET the landlord until weeks after moving in? Who did he sign his lease with? Did he actually sign a contract without even meeting the landlord?

I’ve rented four apartments in Beijing. In every case, I met the landlord well before signing — usually the landlord was there when my real estate agent first showed me each prospective apartment! There is no way in hell I would pick an apartment without first meeting the landlord.

In China it seems to be the practice to use your agent to work out problems with your landlord, but you should always develop a relationship with your landlord — after getting paid, your agent has little incentive to push for you. And the lease contract is between you and the landlord, not the agent.

While this article claims to be translated from an account by a Mainlander, I would hope any foreigners would realize you shouldn’t throw common sense out the window just because you’ve come to China.

September 27, 2006 @ 1:28 pm | Comment

A good question to post over at Danwei, frm whence the piece came.

I had similar apartment nightmares when I moved into my place in Tuan Jie Hu. The very first night, the bed collapsed with a deafening roar that nearly gave me heart failure. When I first ran the washing machine, half my place got flooded. Those were nothing compared to the multiple headaces that followed. (The worst was that my agent promised me i would get a monthly fa piao, which I needed to get a tax break from my company. It never came and neither did my tax break.)

September 27, 2006 @ 2:03 pm | Comment

Danfried: There are agents who help close deals, and then there are agents who actually manage the property. The person in the article used the kind of agent who is contracted by the landlord to handle all aspects of the rental. The tenant then signs a contract and deals exclusively with the agency. Usually it’s just that the landlord has a property but doesn’t want the hassle of dealing with tenants. It may be a bit more expensive for both parties because of the middle-man fee, but it’s certainly not against common sense.

It does sometimes complicate things – when I tried to extend the lease on my last apartment, the agency had to keep putting me off because it was in the process of trying to extend its contract with the landlord – but I’d guess that things usually don’t go quite so badly as in the article. It’s a bit unclear from the text, but I get the feeling that according to the contract signed with the agency, the landlord really wasn’t supposed to visit the tenant in the first place without going through the agency.

As for rental headaches, the worst I had was a refrigerator that was turned off and used by the previous tenants as a storage closet so that it was infested with bugs and egg sacks, so I think I’ve gotten off lucky.

September 27, 2006 @ 3:00 pm | Comment

Thanks for the info, zhwj. I so far haven’t encountered such a property manager/cum real estate agent. It certainly doesn’t sound like a good arrangement for the tenant, since the agent only has incentive to work on behalf of the landlord.

By “common sense” I meant that you should always meet the other party to any contract you sign!

I’ve always evaluated landlords at the same time I’ve evaluated apartments, and the landlords do the same to me. I can understand the hassle of dealing with bad tenants — my family has had to deal with plenty back in Canada — but I don’t see how anyone could leave everything up to the agent without even meeting the tenant!

September 27, 2006 @ 5:43 pm | Comment

George is a troll in Hangzhou. He’s friends with another troll and they are working hard to destroy this site. Please ignore him when he appears, and I’ll try to delete this crap as it appears. Richarda.

September 27, 2006 @ 11:43 pm | Comment

Um, George, what the hell?

Great post on Danwei. I think everybody has similar stories of adventures in housing. Thanks for the link.

September 28, 2006 @ 1:48 am | Comment

As an real estate agent ,I want to say that not all the agent are so bad , we treasure our reputaion as our life.

October 8, 2006 @ 3:13 pm | Comment

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