If you are a foreigner planning to move in China for a determined or undetermined period of time, you should know that, when renting an apartment, you should also sign a rental contract. The rental contract is written in Chinese (if requested, some landlords may present an English version); if you do not know the language and general contract provisions, you may need the advice of a law firm in China.
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Terms of the Rental Contract in China
Rental contracts are usually signed for a period of one year and you should know that even if you have an English version, if, for whatever reasons, you and the landlord have a dispute in the Court, only the Chinese version of the contract is legally binding. For this reason, we advise you to require the help of our Chinese lawyers when signing a rental contract.
There are contracts which can be signed for a shorter period of time, such as maximum 6 months, but the rent may be more expensive than if you’d have rented the place for a longer time.
Provisions of the Rental Contract
A contract should offer you the safety of you rights as a tenant, but also specify your obligations. Our attorneys in China can present to you the provisions that should be stated in a contract, but you should know that the following have to be mentioned in a rental contract:
• period of time for which the contract is valid,
• specified time in which each part can give notice if the contract needs to end before the date agreed upon,
• penalties for both parties and the situations in which these apply,
• lease extension,
• contents of the apartment must be listed in the contract,
• payment of the rent (usually paid in the national currency, yuan) – it must be specified a due date and penalties for delaying the payment date,
• contact details of the landlord
• deposits (required for 2 months) – a refundable sum of money, asked by the landlord as a security measure in case the tenant may damage, during his or her stay, assets of the apartment; the deposit is refunded within 30 days of the tenant’s leaving,
• location and size of the apartment,
• payment of the utilities (electricity, water, gas, phone, internet) – have to paid by the tenant.
Rental Tax Receipt in China (Fapiao)
If you are entitled to tax deductions in China, you should require the landlord to pay a rental tax, to issue the fapiao, the rental tax receipt, a document useful for any tax deductions on the Chinese territory. Our Chinese lawyers can present further information about tax deduction entitlements.
If you need assistance for your rental contract, please contact our law in China to offer you guidance.