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September 3, 2010

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Trouble ahead if you don't pay up

IF you don't pay property management bills, you may face trouble buying or selling your apartment, according to a revised draft concerning local residential property rules.

City lawmakers were yesterday debating whether this clause and other controversial terms should be added to the final version of the regulation.

The current one has been revised once since it was enacted in 2004.

"The fact that some residences skip the payment on purpose without any restrictions is unfair for those who pay the bill in time," said Liu Haisheng, director of the Shanghai Housing Support and Building Administration Bureau.

House or apartment owners should provide enough records to show that they paid the bill regularly when they conduct future house trade, according to the draft.

The city began introducing its property management policy in 1991.

About 72 percent of the total 10,870 residential communities have property management bodies.

About 20 percent of households in new complexes never pay the monthly bill in time. The rate is much lower at some old communities, officials said.

The old regulation needs revised as the number of property management disputes is on the rise in Shanghai with house owners unsatisfied with the service, while property managers complain that they cannot collect the money in time to support services.

The new draft, with 84 clauses, gives owners more powers and strengthens government supervision during disputes, officials said.

During yesterday's meeting held by members of the Shanghai People's Congress, Liu denied a view held by some lawmakers that by adding the clause the bureau intended to protect the property management companies, now operating in the market where once they were attached to the bureau.

"Actually many companies are losing money," said Liu.

Take the companies in downtown Zhabei District, Liu said, where the district gives them about 16 million yuan a year in subsidies.

Huang Yongping, deputy director of the bureau said a similar policy was currently being carried out by the city's water and electricity authorities.

Householders have to produce evidence they have paid water or electricity bills in recent months when buying a new home.

Ding Wei, a lawmaker, said the draft might cause further conflicts between owners and property management. "It still needs to be refined and discussed."

On the other hand, the draft strengthens the regulation on property management, asking them to use the money paid by the owners wisely.


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