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Renting Rights

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    2

    Renting Rights

    I am renting a home in the New Territories and recently rain water has started to come down the stairs from the roof area and separately a crack has appeared on the bedroom ceiling and rain water is dripping from it. I have informed the landlord and told him that it is a structural problem and he needs to organize repair. He has informed me that 'this happens in old houses', but will not take any action to repair the problem.

    I would like to know where I stand on this issue legally. Can I refuse to pay rent or part of my rent until repair is made?

    I am worried that the water may get in to the electrics causing a even more hazardous situation.

    If I move out without giving 2 months notice due to this can I legally get my 2 months deposit back?

    I would like to know what options I have.

    Thank you,

    Sledge.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Island East
    Posts
    4,422

    Fix it and deduct it from the rent and since the LL doesnt seem too bothered helping you fix issues, I'm sensing your going to have issues getting the full deposit back later on, best to not pay the last two months rent to deduct the deposit


  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    4,741

    start reading your rental license


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Hong Kong
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    6,330

    That's why I tell people to check for water leaks (windows, cracks, etc.) and check the Air Con, amongst a list of other things, and newbies always think I'm crazy.

    Basically you're screwed. You are responsible to know the condition of your flat when you move in and there are no protections for you, and HK Landlords know that. So it is up to you to fully check the place before signing the lease. Damages to your personal property is your problem, not the landlords.

    Legally, you are required to complete the lease per the terms of the contract. A standard rental agreement with any real estate agency or picked up at a stationary shop will give you ZERO protections, that is common.

    Your options are:

    1) Deal with it

    2) Negotiate with landlord, USUALLY the landlord will allow you to forfeit your two month deposit to end the lease early, but you need to be current on rent too. If there is damage to the flat, such as a new crack, they may attempt to charge you for it. If you are going this route, understand that you need to lose two months, and don't try to get a better deal than that, otherwise you will piss off the landlord and you won't win (even though you think you are right, but really you rented the place as is). You are responsible for the entire lease term!

    3) Leave now and risk being sued for the entire lease term plus any damages the landlord makes up. Likely the landlord may keep the deposit plus claim under 50k to keep it in small claims court since it is cheap and easy to sue you that way.

    4) Stop paying rent and get evicted and later sued. At least you don't lose the deposit money now, you can save for the next flat deposit (if need be), but you will definitely lose in court, not a good option.

    Given you are in NT, you are foreign I'm guessing and you rented a house with cracks, I'm thinking the landlord can not easily re-rent the house, and will thus have more pressure to sue you to recover his losses. Whereas in Sheung Wan the place would be re-rented in 2 weeks so the landlord won't bother to sue their tenants if they got to keep the two months deposit. The landlord must show losses to win in court.

    rickyross, shri and huja like this.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    1,520

    Can't top @MandM! 's advice above but I will say that if you are living in a village house in NT, there is even less you can do about it because the villages pretty much live by their own rules and the police will take their side. Especially if the LL lives there and is a local, the villagers can make your life miserable if they find out you're taking action against them legally. Not a steadfast rule of course but it could happen.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    6,330

    Had a friend who lived in a village, the neighbours were having a party, guess he threw a banana on their rooftop being stupid and what not. He went to sleep and next day came out to go to work had 4 flat tires. It didn't stop there either...


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    761

    Yeah, the chinese are big on retribution and punishment.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    19,633
    Quote Originally Posted by MandM!
    That's why I tell people to check for water leaks (windows, cracks, etc.) and check the Air Con, amongst a list of other things, and newbies always think I'm crazy.

    Basically you're screwed. You are responsible to know the condition of your flat when you move in and there are no protections for you, and HK Landlords know that. So it is up to you to fully check the place before signing the lease. Damages to your personal property is your problem, not the landlords.

    Legally, you are required to complete the lease per the terms of the contract. A standard rental agreement with any real estate agency or picked up at a stationary shop will give you ZERO protections, that is common.

    Your options are:

    1) Deal with it

    2) Negotiate with landlord, USUALLY the landlord will allow you to forfeit your two month deposit to end the lease early, but you need to be current on rent too. If there is damage to the flat, such as a new crack, they may attempt to charge you for it. If you are going this route, understand that you need to lose two months, and don't try to get a better deal than that, otherwise you will piss off the landlord and you won't win (even though you think you are right, but really you rented the place as is). You are responsible for the entire lease term!

    3) Leave now and risk being sued for the entire lease term plus any damages the landlord makes up. Likely the landlord may keep the deposit plus claim under 50k to keep it in small claims court since it is cheap and easy to sue you that way.

    4) Stop paying rent and get evicted and later sued. At least you don't lose the deposit money now, you can save for the next flat deposit (if need be), but you will definitely lose in court, not a good option.

    Given you are in NT, you are foreign I'm guessing and you rented a house with cracks, I'm thinking the landlord can not easily re-rent the house, and will thus have more pressure to sue you to recover his losses. Whereas in Sheung Wan the place would be re-rented in 2 weeks so the landlord won't bother to sue their tenants if they got to keep the two months deposit. The landlord must show losses to win in court.
    This advice is, as usual, mostly rubbish.

    I have never seen a rental contract that didn't state the landlord is responsible for maintaining the structure of a building. A really wily landlord may have specifically excluded this, but it is far from common. Your OP's first action should be to check the terms of the contract - it could well be that the landlord is legally obliged to make good any defects to the structure of the property.

    SledgeHK, I would advise you to read through this site - it contain real, accurate legal advice. Don't rely on hearsay which is often nonsense as posters over-reach the boundaries of their knowledge.

    CLIC - Landlord & Tenant: Repair/maintenance obligations

    More generally, the law implies a landlord needs to provide a property fit for human habitation - so even if your tenancy agreement doesn't specifically cover maintenance of the external structure then any legal dispute might very well side in the tenants favour.
    nivantj likes this.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Posts
    2

    thanks to all

    Thank you everyone for your advice. I've been living in the house for just over a year and the leaks have just started last month. I will dig out my contract and read through it.

    Again,

    Thanks to all.


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    6,330

    TB - Not everything works as written and easy as you make it out to be. There are long processes and legal battles for what you suggest and if the tenant wants to leave one day and have a legal battle to follow him, how does he win on that.

    TB - as usual more BS from your mouth so you can say you're right and someone else is wrong. Why don't you go make your 5 minute commute to work and bother some of your staff, I'm sure they all love you.

    rickyross likes this.