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Beijing outlines plan to regulate residential rentals

Du Juan
Updated: Nov 25,2021 08:59    China Daily

To help regulate the long-term leasing market, an outline for housing rentals that would limit rent increases was released by Beijing's legislature for public comment on Nov 24.

The standing committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress discussed the outline on the morning of Nov 24. It includes regulations on hot issues such as long-term rental apartment supervision, online housing contracts and indoor air quality management.

It says the government will be able to take measures to regulate and control the housing rental market when rents rise rapidly.

Instead of collecting rents annually or every half year, the outline stipulates that landlords can only charge three months' rent in advance and the deposit should be less than one month's rent.

Feng Yuying, a 25-year-old clerk at an advertising company in Beijing, said she pays rent annually at present, which can be a big burden.

"It's good news that the government will supervise the rental market because it matters a lot for young people's quality of life," she said. "There are some other issues worthy of attention, such as difficulties in deposit returns and unreasonable contract extension fees."

The outline says landlords should return deposits within three working days of a contract ending and agencies should not charge tenants again when they extend their leases.

To better serve and regulate the market, the government will establish an online rental leasing platform, with digital contracts having equal legal validity to paper ones. The platform will also offer other public services linked to tenancies, such as residence certificates and arranging places at schools.

For the first time, indoor air quality that does not meet the standard is clearly listed as something that would prohibit the renting of a residence.

If it is proved that an agency has rented out an apartment whose air quality fails to meet the standard due to interior decorations, it will be fined 10,000 yuan ($1,570) to 50,000 yuan.

Wang Hao, a 30-year-old bank clerk who used to rent in Beijing, said he welcomed the regulations on indoor air quality.

"For many people struggling to make a living in such a big city, their needs are merely a stable place to live with a reasonable price," he said. "The indoor air quality is something they don't have energy to care about. The government's regulation will protect those people."

At the same time, some people expressed concerns that the new rules will lead to even higher rents. The outline lacks a clear definition of "rapidly rising" in reference to rent increases.

In April, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development jointly issued new residential leasing regulations with the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Public Security and six other ministries to strengthen the supervision of leasing companies and prevent and resolve financial risks.