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October 26, 2010

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New draft to stop late bill payments

PEOPLE who fail to pay property management bills will face problems in the future when buying or selling their apartments, states a revised draft on local residential property management rules.

City lawmakers and representatives of residents, communities and property management companies debated at a public hearing yesterday whether the clause should be added to the final version of the regulations.

Many insisted that delayed payment or refusal to pay is done as an objection to the poor service and has nothing to do with personal finances.

However, some believe putting a black mark on people's credit record - a practice adopted in many foreign countries - can effectively solve the arrears issues.

Li Feng, a manager with a local property management company, said he agreed with the clause. Quite a few apartment owners who do not pay the property management bills are not living in the apartments themselves, and the houses are an investment. "If the revised regulation takes effect, those people will not be able to sell their apartments until they pay the bills," said Li.

In his opinion, property management companies can only provide good service to the residents after they collect enough money.

Some residents had a different opinion about the clause and questioned its effectiveness. They also said some residents who refused to pay their bills were not satisfied with the property management companies' services.

Liu Jianting, a local university student, said some residents in her neighborhood were not happy with the company's services, and chose not to pay the bills because they had no other way of expressing their dissatisfaction.

If they are living in their own apartments and have no plan to sell the property, then how would the clause affect them, Liu asked.

Shanghai introduced the property management policy in 1991. About 72 percent of the city's 10,870 residential communities have property management bodies and 20 percent of households in new complexes do not pay monthly bills in time. The rate is much lower in some older communities, said Liu Haisheng, director of the Shanghai Housing Support and the Building Administration Bureau.

He said that if just one family did not pay their bill, it affected everyone in their?community.

Gong Weizhong, a Jiading District resident, suggested the city set up an arbitration agency to solve conflicts between residents and property management companies.

The new draft gives owners of properties more power and strengthens government supervision during disputes, officials said earlier.


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