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advice on how to be an absentee landlord

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  1. #1

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    advice on how to be an absentee landlord

    Planning to leave HK in a few months and want to let my residential property out. Need some advice on how to be an absentee landlord, specifically how to sign tenancy agreements, how to deal with repairs, etc. when you are no longer physically in HK? Ideally, I would be able to find a tenant through a property agent before leaving HK. But in case that is not possible, how does one go about being able to sign documents like provisional agreements, tenancy agreements, dealing with flat repairs and maintenance, etc.

    I've read some people have opted to do power of attorney (POA) to let out their property. But wouldn't it be simpler and easy enough to have the property agent courier the documents to me (to my overseas correspondence address), I sign it and courier it back to the property agent? Never done POA before and seems unnecessary and risky to me on first impression, esp. since I don't have any family member in HK to entrust this POA to. Just want to ask the collective wisdom and experience from Geoexpat members who are absentee landlords themselves and what worked for them. TIA

    Last edited by hkgcat; 18-07-2021 at 08:34 PM.

  2. #2

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    You can appoint someone to manage everything for you - at a cost. Many of the agencies have tenancy management services.


  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by shri:
    You can appoint someone to manage everything for you - at a cost. Many of the agencies have tenancy management services.
    Understand this in relation to flat repairs/maintenance. May I know how does this work with signing tenancy agreements in case I'm already overseas? TIA

  4. #4

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    Last time I signed a tenancy agreement (through an agent), we both had to be physically present and show our HKID cards. So, I'm not sure how that would work if you are couriering the agreements to other countries. PoA can be through a lawyer - although I guess that might be quite expensive.

    A friend is renting out a property overseas, and he was able to sign the agreement online - the agent sent it to him. Seemed straightforward (although he is paying a commission of around 10%). Perhaps contact a couple of local agents and see what they say. My preference would be to go for either an independent agent, or someone a little more mature if in one of the chains.

    Dealing with repairs is easier. This is when using an agent to let the property can be helpful - with WhatsApp and a local bank account for transfers, there is no need for you to be in Hong Kong to get repairs done. Even when I'm physically in Hong Kong, I generally let the agent deal with the repair / replacing any furniture, and I will just reimburse them.

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  5. #5

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    I use an independent agent who I have worked with for many years. Pay a monthly fee. You will find that some agents are less proactive than others. Using a non-professional friend can have its own problems. Good for you to return at interval, otherwise risk of being forgotten.


  6. #6

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    Docusign is a great way to sign documents these days without being physically present. I've used it for financial transactions and board resolutions so I assume tenancy agreements work.


  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by HK_Katherine:
    Docusign is a great way to sign documents these days without being physically present. I've used it for financial transactions and board resolutions so I assume tenancy agreements work.
    Wondering if Docusign is worth the extra expense per month/year. On the App Store, I see it is available free only for first 3 documents, after which requires subscription. I would really only find it useful for signing tenancy agreements remotely, which potentially is 1x every 2 years. Wonder if the cost per month/year would be cheaper compared to simply using post services like Speedpost from HK or similar from overseas.

    Do you use it often enough that you subscribe on a monthly/yearly basis or just subscribe on a particular month when you need it to minimise the cost? TIA

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkgcat:
    Wondering if Docusign is worth the extra expense per month/year. On the App Store, I see it is available free only for first 3 documents, after which requires subscription. I would really only find it useful for signing tenancy agreements remotely, which potentially is 1x every 2 years. Wonder if the cost per month/year would be cheaper compared to simply using post services like Speedpost from HK or similar from overseas.

    Do you use it often enough that you subscribe on a monthly/yearly basis or just subscribe on a particular month when you need it to minimise the cost? TIA
    i just use the free version. others pay (like the solicitor in the UK, or the compamy when I sign board docs etc).
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