Friend lost job but still has a lease

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  1. #1

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    Friend lost job but still has a lease

    hey guys,


    Yesterday heard that my good friend lost his job this week as a finance consultant. He's in his late twenties and is of course gutted by it. He probably has to move back to his home country (Belgium. same as me).

    The problem he is facing now is that he has a standard 2 year contract for his apartment. He's only 6 months in, but can cancel the second year. (strangely enough only at the 11th month?).

    The problem of course is that he's paying about 15000 hkd a month and basically cannot afford it anymore. If he has to move back to his home country, then i imagine he has to pay the remaining 6 months on his lease and that's a lot of money for a young recently fired guy.

    Any thoughts? Usually i would say he should take responsibility and pay the rent, but it's hardly his fault he is fired (his company is downsizing due to a poor economy) and it is a lot of money.

    The real kicker here is, that his landlord is some big shot lawyer in central.

    If he goes back to the EU, can his landlord sue him and get to him? (landlord of course has 2 month deposit, and would "lose" about 4 months worth).

    Last edited by FilipH; 30-11-2008 at 11:07 AM.

  2. #2

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    if i was him. first thing is damage limitation, advert a flat share to share the cost, eg, if there is 3 rooms, rent the other 2 at example 5500 or 6000 pcm for the remaining months

    second thing, before he moves, sell the furnture to save on transportation cost.


  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by FilipH
    The real kicker here is, that his landlord is some big shot lawyer in central.
    Tell him to talk to the Lawyer that he got laid off and cant afford to pay the rent anymore, the most he can lose is the 2 moths deposit.

    If your friend leaves town, nothing much the Landlord can do, he's not going to spend loads of money trying to get back rent, its not like if your friend owes a few million $.

  4. #4

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    I would say if he breaks the lease contract by moving out early, he will loose the 2 months deposit, but they will not come after him for the remaining 4 months. This is my understanding how it works in HK, at least I believe it is common practice.


  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by wtbhotia
    Tell him to talk to the Lawyer that he got laid off and cant afford to pay the rent anymore, the most he can lose is the 2 moths deposit.

    If your friend leaves town, nothing much the Landlord can do, he's not going to spend loads of money trying to get back rent, its not like if your friend owes a few million $.
    ==> But if the landlord is a lawyer, he doesn't really have to spent money to sue him. That's why the guy and me think there might be a problem.

    He is comfortable with losing the deposit, but doesn't want to get sued of course. Losing job + being sued at the same time ...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by FilipH
    ==> But if the landlord is a lawyer, he doesn't really have to spent money to sue him. That's why the guy and me think there might be a problem.

    He is comfortable with losing the deposit, but doesn't want to get sued of course. Losing job + being sued at the same time ...
    You'd have a much bigger problem if you don't just speak to the lawyer and just be upfront and tell him the truth and see what the options are.

    As a landlord myself we're not all bad and can be flexible and understanding as long as you don't mess us around and just be honest.

  7. #7

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    1. Did your friend show his passport as ID when renting the flat?
    2. Did your friend show his work contract as proof of income when renting the flat?
    3. Did your friend's company bring him out here for this job?


    1. If yes then the lawyer could ultimately chase your friend via other channels i.e: private investigator, connections the lawyer may have in the government, etc.
    2. If yes then the lawyer could ultimately chase the company as an attempt to locate your friend
    3. If the company is sending him back then the company should also bear the cost of having to break the lease. There would be/should be a clause in the employment contract addressing this and/or the lawyer could ultimately chase the company to pay the cost of the lease.

    It has to be worth the landlord's time and effort to chase your friend.

    Also, there has to be enforcement of the contract so if your friend is going back to the EU which EU body is going to enforce the terms and conditions of the contract?
    Last edited by Alby; 30-11-2008 at 07:45 PM.

  8. #8

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    At HK$15000 a month, the most the landlord stands to lose is HK$60000 (6 mths rent minus 2 mths deposit). If I was the landlord, I would be more worried about getting a new tenant to start paying rent than chasing an old one in Europe. So, first thing, tell the landlord and be prepared to lose the deposit.


  9. #9

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    most leases have a termination clause in them - you may forfeit the deposit and that's about it. there's no real legal ground to sue you, is there? it is a contract, but it is also a lease, if your friend has no job, technically he has no right to live in HK exept as a tourist, therefore i think it would be unlikely that there is any legal reproach.

    i cancelled my lease a few years ago when i had to leave HK for personal reasons, and the landlord was happy to give me one month deposit back and leave it at that.

    this isn't my forte (i'm not sure what is!) but i think there will be no problems if you tell the landlord what is going on.


  10. #10

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    I think your friend should speak to the landlord regarding his lay off .Max he will lose is the 2 month deposit if the landlord agrees.


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