Apartment rental companies in Shenzhen are not allowed to raise rent at will or through fraud or coercion, according to an urgent notice released by the Shenzhen Municipal Housing and Construction Bureau on Tuesday.
Against the background that many long-term apartment rental operators in the country have gone bankrupt this year, affected by the pandemic, the notice was released to prevent risks to the housing market and protect the legal rights of tenants.
According to the notice, apartment leasing enterprises and tenants should strictly fulfill the lease contract. Housing lease companies cannot increase rent unilaterally, nor withhold deposits without valid reasons.
Housing rental companies cannot release false and fraudulent housing information and should be responsible for the authenticity and validity of the housing information they publish.
Employees of housing rental companies are not allowed to undertake house leasing business privately.
Moreover, housing rental companies should legally register their business in the city and obtain their business licenses to be eligible for operation.
Companies are also not allowed to seek benefits through contract fraud and induce tenants to take out housing loans.
Housing rental companies cannot evict tenants by using violent methods such as intimidation or illegally cutting water and electricity to address disputes.
Instead, companies and tenants should seek legal ways, including mediation, litigation and arbitration, for any disputes.
The city’s housing bureau will investigate and handle violators in accordance with related laws and regulations and inform related departments of violators’ dishonest behaviors.
These dishonest and illegal behaviors will be recorded on the public credit system, according to the notice. Those who are suspected of breaking the law will face criminal investigation.
In another development, starting Nov. 13, Shenzhen citizens can sign a rental housing contract and carry out registration through the WeChat account of the city’s rental housing supervision service platform “gh_1c09d8897acc” (深圳智慧租房), according to the city’s housing and construction bureau.
The service is currently not applicable to the situation where one or both parties of the rental housing are business entities such as enterprises.