Non-local students should pay attention when renting a flat in Hong Kong

2017-06

Due to the high number of non-local students coming to Hong Kong to study and the scarcity of hostel places at universities, some non-local students are unable to find accommodation in campuses and need to look for accommodation elsewhere. These young non-local students may not be familiar with the tenancy practice and also the services and duties of estate agents in Hong Kong, which might bring them difficulties in the process of renting a flat.

Here I would like to remind all non-local students some important points to note when looking for accommodation outside campuses in Hong Kong. Firstly, although potential tenants may directly deal with landlords, it is better to appoint licensed estate agents for your own protection. Licensed estate agents have the professional knowledge in property leasing and their practice and conduct are regulated by the EAA. Secondly, with regard to residential properties, when you decide to appoint an estate agent, the estate agent is required to enter into a prescribed estate agency agreement with you and explain to you the terms in the agreement. Please remember to clarify all the terms in the estate agency agreement before signing.

Moreover, you should also pay extra attention if you are renting any subdivided flats or old properties as there might be unauthorised building works and safety issues. If the flats are sublet, you should also obtain consent from the principal landlord and ascertain from the principal tenancy agreement whether there are any prohibition against subletting before signing a sub-tenancy agreement.

In addition to the points mentioned above, non-local students can find out more by reading the new booklet titled “Tenancy Guide for Non-local Students in Hong Kong” published by the EAA recently. This booklet introduces to non-local students what to pay attention to when renting a flat, in particular through an estate agent, in Hong Kong.

I strongly encourage all non-local students to read this booklet before looking for a flat in Hong Kong. Copies of the booklet have been distributed to all universities in Hong Kong and the e-copy is also available on both the EAA website and this website.

Ruby Hon
Chief Executive Officer
Estate Agents Authority