Real estate agents go from bad to worse

Complaints about furnished apartments rented out by real estate agents have nearly tripled this year, the city's consumer council warned yesterday.

Complaints about furnished apartments rented out by real estate agents have nearly tripled this year, the city’s consumer council warned yesterday.

The Shanghai Consumer Council received nearly 1,400 complaints about rental apartments, 150 regarding safety issues.

Tenants have complained that apartments provided by Ziru Property Management had a strong odor, leading to symptoms like sore throats, watering eyes, headaches and fatigue. 

Tests found high levels of formaldehyde and benzene in the apartments.

“It is the responsibility of agencies to provide safe and healthy places for people to live, but some use poor quality decoration materials and unskilled workers to save time and money,” said Tang Jiansheng, deputy secretary-general of the council.

More than half the complaints were about deposit disputes. Regulations state that agencies should return the deposit to renters once the lease ends, but some agencies don’t bother.

Yujian Property Management drew the ire of about 300 former tenants who complained that the company had failed to return their deposit within 15 working days as promised, according to the council. The company delayed the refund by three months on average.

In addition, some agencies encouraged tenants to take out loans from third-party financial institutions which they have interests in, leading to credit risks. There have been about 330 complaints in this regard.

Xinyu Real Estate Rental was unable to pay property owners due to a broken financial chain. As a result, tenants were thrown out of their homes and faced personal credit risks because of bonded loans, leading to 160 complaints.


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