Just because somebody is in business and that business has risks doesn't mean it's OK to go ahead and shaft them you prat.
You might as well argue that it's OK to burgle homes because the owners have insurance.
Sign a contract and honour it you bunch of good for nothing bums.
Well I agree with INXS that she's made a mistake by not honoring her contract, she's a grown up and committed to stay there 14 months. But when she signed her job contract, she kinda had to get an apartment in order to live here right ? She didn't expect to loose her job so quickly, and not everyone has the chance to be able to pay 8 months rent for nothing.
When you're in your home country, most of the time you're entitled to unemployment allowances, which she obviously cannot get here in Hong Kong. So she doesn't have a choice and must go back. It's a shame for the landlord in this case, but in many other cases they're still better off renting to foreigners (every Chinese landlord I had in Mainland China preferred renting to me rather than to local Chinese) ...
Guarantee is there to mitigate this risk.
1) she's not from UK, but from a country where she can get allowances if she goes back - 2) she's of course already been applying to jobs in HK for the past few weeks, but doesn't have the money to stay one more month unfortunately.
Well we all rather got het up over this one didn't we. What a surprise.
The correct thing to do in my opinion is to contact the landlord, explain the situation and offer to pay the cost of finding a new tenant. The landlord, if reasonable, should agree to this. If, however, the landlord is NOT reasonable, then leaving while the rent is still paid and walking away from 2 months security deposit does not seem unfair to me. (Yes INXS, I own rental property too. The onus is on BOTH sides to be reasonable in any agreement, not just one.)
While contracts should be honoured, HK rental contracts do not appear to cover well "unexpected situations" in the same way normal commercial contracts do - and the security deposit picks up the slack. If the woman cannot afford to stay here having left her job, it's bleeding obvious she cannot afford 8 months of rent so being unreasonable does not help either side.
However - to the OP - just ASSUMING your landlord is going to be unreasonable and doing a runner without trying to sort this out first is wrong.
Per the others, nobody can stop you moving out if your rent is paid. INXS's commercial property example may have had many different underlying factors - for example - the rent could already have been in arrears and the landlord could have obtained a judgement to take possessions in lieu of rent - if that was the case of course management would have assisted to prevent the tenant breaking the law. Commercial property rental contracts are different - much harsher than residential. You can't really use them as examples.