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Renters dream of ownership
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09:01, September 11, 2007

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Fion Li has moved house five times in the past four years and is tired of renting but cannot afford to buy a house yet. The 27-year-old from Guangzhou is saving for a mortgage.

"I never feel at home," she said. "My landlord can suddenly raise the rent or suspend the contract. I've got no choice but to leave."

Li is among the majority of Chinese who dislikes being a tenant and wants to purchase her own property, a survey has found.

About 80 percent of interviewees considered leasing troublesome and they did not want to spend the rest of their lives in a rented house, according to a recent poll conducted by China Youth Daily and Sina.com.

Of the 8,729 interviews, 69 percent complained about shortage of supply in the leasehold market, while 11 percent of them said property dealers or agencies lacked regulation.

The survey comes at a time when officials have been encouraging the public to rent houses instead of buying.

"The biggest misconception that has led to the heated property market is that everyone wants to buy an apartment in China," Long Yongtu, former vice-minister of foreign trade, was quoted as saying by the China Youth Daily.

Vice-Minister of Construction Qi Ji said renting a house was a reasonable temporary measure.

"No country can resolve public housing problems by just depending on private ownership," Qi was quoted as saying by the paper.

Industry insiders said instability in the rental market scares many tenants away.

"Most of the suppliers of rented houses are individuals," said Hu Jingjun, deputy president of 5i5j, a leading property agency in China. "They don't have a long-term investment plan."

Lack of comprehensive regulations in the rental market has also driven small investors away, as some landlords found their property was treated badly by tenants.

In Li's case, after receiving no payment from her tenant for a period of three months, she entered the house and found that several items, including the television and air conditioner, had been 0stolen.

To strengthen administration of the leasing market, police authorities in Beijing have introduced a new regulation banning homeowners from renting their properties to people with "irregular lifestyles", including those who return home late at night.

Source: China Daily



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