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Unstamped tenancy agreement: Worthless?

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  1. #1

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    Unstamped tenancy agreement: Worthless?

    Say if the contact states a fixed 1 year period (but no break lease or notice period stated) and it's unstamped, is it non-binding?

    Is the tenant able to break lease early (with notice), with no obligation to pay the remainder of the year's rent?
    I'm assuming the deposit is forfeited as consequently there's also no legal recourse for the tenant to recover that on an unstamped contract.


    Is it possible for the landlord to retaliate by getting it stamped later (and pay the fine) and then it now becomes legally binding and the tenant is on-the-hook to pay the landlord the remainder of the yearly rent as compensation?


  2. #2

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    Basically what you have written is all correct. The lease will not be accepted as evidence in court until it is stamped, but the stamping can be done late.


  3. #3

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    So if it is indeed stamped late, would that then make the tenant liable to pay up the full contract of they broke lease early?


  4. #4

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    Original Post Deleted
    negotiation is the best way to go, but don't think the first sentence is legally right. If the tenancy agreement is enforceable then tenant is liable for the full period of fixed rent. Just landlord are less likely to go after the original tenant if he/she already collected 2 months rental and since its quite easy to re-let it in hk's market.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by freeier:
    negotiation is the best way to go, but don't think the first sentence is legally right. If the tenancy agreement is enforceable then tenant is liable for the full period of fixed rent. Just landlord are less likely to go after the original tenant if he/she already collected 2 months rental and since its quite easy to re-let it in hk's market.
    Unstamped cannot be enforced
    But how about if the stamping is done several months later by the landlord (therefore enforcing it)?
    Wouldn't it then be technically valid and you are then liable for the remainder of the rent?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by HKthe:
    Unstamped cannot be enforced
    But how about if the stamping is done several months later by the landlord (therefore enforcing it)?
    Wouldn't it then be technically valid and you are then liable for the remainder of the rent?
    Not sure about how the court will see this. maybe you can check if any of these were subject to court orders in the past.
    Technically, it also does not appear to work well in the landlord's favour.
    What happens is that
    1. landlord pays 2.5% of the annual rent to stamp the agreement post dated.
    2. landlord then apply to court for an injunction such that you pay your rent and continue your tenancy.
    3. landlord cannot rent out the premise, as you are still entitled to the place for the remaining tenancy. your 2mth deposit is no longer forfeited.

    So unless there are very specific reason why landlord wants to force the fulfillment of the agreement in exchange for the 2mth deposit, no reason for the landlord to carry out this process.
    Also depends on how long more the tenancy agreement is left with as well.

  7. #7

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenChan:
    Basically what you have written is all correct. The lease will not be accepted as evidence in court until it is stamped, but the stamping can be done late.
    I have a different view, a contract is a contract, so stamped or unstamped makes no difference, the HKSAR basic law doesn't say an unstamped contract is not valid, as I recall its only IRD wording intended to force lease agreements to be recorded and levy paid. The fact that the levy can be paid retrospectively, then an invalid contract magically becomes a valid contract because a third party is paid makes a mockery of contract law --- my non laywer view.
    HK_Katherine and qhank like this.