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Press Release

Pay Attention when Signing Tenancy Contracts to Protect Your Housing Rights

Source:Department of Consumer Protection

"House Leasing and Rental Management" is an important housing policy adopted by the government to ensure housing justice. The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) of the Executive Yuan, the Department of Land Administration of the Ministry of the Interior, and the Land Administration Bureau (Department) under each local authority carried out the "2023 Inspection of Standard Contracts for House Leasing" between April and May this year (2023), in order to understand the compliance of subleasing companies with the "Mandatory and Prohibitory Provisions of Standard Contracts for House Leasing."
The DCP inspected 50 house leasing contracts used by the top 25 subleasing companies in terms of market share, and inspected 15 items of each contract, including "lease term," "repair," and "early termination of tenancy contract." A total of 750 items were inspected and 219 non-compliant items were found. The overall non-compliance rate of the contracts was 29.2%, and the non-compliant items were spread among 32 contracts.
The DCP asked the Department of Land Administration of the Ministry of the Interior to supervise the Land Administration Bureaus (Departments) under each local authority in ordering subleasing companies to make corrections to non-compliant items in their contracts within the time limit prescribed in Article 56-1 of the Consumer Protection Act. Corrections have been completed for 28 contracts. The consumers of the remaining four contracts felt that the contents of the contracts did not affect their rights, so no corrections were made with consideration to the stability of the contracts.
The provisions in the "Mandatory and Prohibitory Provisions of Standard Contracts for House Leasing" all involve consumers' housing rights. The DCP reminds consumers to pay attention to the following provisions before signing tenancy contracts:
I. Regulations on the lease term
(I) A subleasing company only has the right to lease a house to a tenant after signing a subleasing contract with the landlord and the contract is still effective.
(II) Consumers must examine the documentation that proves lawful subleasing by the subleasing company, and make sure that the "period of the tenancy contract does not exceed the period of the subleasing contract," in order to avoid not having the right to occupy the house.
II. Regulations on repair
(I) In principle, the subleasing company is responsible for repairs when there are damages to the house or auxiliary equipment. If a subleasing company delays making repairs, the tenant may make the repairs and request repayment of repair expenses or deduct the expenses from rent.
(II) Consumers must check the contract for any clauses that reduce the subleasing company's repair responsibilities through separate negotiations or prohibit consumers from making repairs on their own, in order to protect their housing rights.
III. Regulations on provisions for early termination of tenancy contract
(I) Important matters, such as whether the parties to a tenancy contract may terminate the contract before it expires, the advance notice period, and the limit on liquidated damages if there are no statutory reasons for termination, are expressly stated in a tenancy contract to prevent any party from terminating the contract early without notice, which will create the dispute of the other party suddenly needing to move or the house becoming unoccupied.
(II) Consumers must pay attention to the period required for advance notice and whether there are high liquidated damages if they intend to terminate the contract early due to personal reasons, in order to protect their interests from being damaged.
IV. Regulations on return of rental house
(I) When the lease is terminated, the landlord and tenant must jointly complete handover procedures, and the deposit and house shall be returned at the same time to be fair and reasonable to both parties of the tenancy contract.
(II) Consumers must pay attention to time points for house handover procedures and returning the deposit specified in the contract, in order to avoid disputes after the lease is terminated.
The DCP calls on subleasing companies to prepare contract clauses in accordance with the "Mandatory and Prohibitory Provisions of Standard Contracts for House Leasing," and to not change the contents of contracts under the name of "individual negotiation," or have "tenancy contracts with a period that exceeds the period of the subleasing contract," which will violate the basic concept of subleasing.
The DCP also reminds consumers that while the environment of the rental house concerns the comfort and safety of their housing, the contents of subleasing contracts affect the protection of their housing rights. Consumers must properly inspect the actual condition of the house before signing a tenancy contract, in order to prevent future disputes. Consumers must also check if each item in the tenancy contract matches the "Mandatory and Prohibitory Provisions of Standard Contracts for House Leasing," and in the event that there are any non-compliant items, consumers should ask the subleasing company to make corrections or refuse to sign the contract. Consumers may also report violations to the Land Administration Bureau (Department) of the local authority.