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March 10, 2011

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American wins landlord compensation

AN American language expert has been awarded compensation of nearly 9,000 yuan (US$1,370) from her former landlord, judges said yesterday.

However, the Jing'an District People's Court also ruled the American, who was not named, should pay more than 6,000 yuan in rent and utilities to the landlord, surnamed Lu.

The woman, a language consultant for the Shanghai Television, signed a one-year lease contract with Lu in March 2010.

The monthly rent was 13,000 yuan.

They agreed on a deposit of 26,000 yuan plus 1,800 yuan in satellite TV fee. The penalty if either party breached the contract would be double the deposit.

But on July 1, water leaked into the apartment after an upstairs neighbor left on a tap. The woman moved into a five-star hotel and stayed there for 10 days. She also put her dog into a pet salon.

Lu redecorated the room, but the American asked for the contract to be canceled, claiming fumes from the newly painted room would harm her health. The landlord rejected this.

The woman returned the keys on July 26. Because Lu refused to return the deposit and pay compensation, the American sued her. Lu said that the American should pay delayed rent and utilities, as well as the breach of contract penalty.

Lu said the American moved into an expensive hotel without her agreement so she refused to cover her accommodation costs. The court ruled that the American had the right to terminate the contract on health grounds. And as Lu signed to confirm having received the keys, it indicated she agreed on the contract termination and should return the deposit.

Because the American had paid rent until June 17, 2010, and didn't move out until July 2010, she should pay rent and utilities for that period.

The court judged the hotel price was reasonable because it wasn't easy to find cheaper accommodation at short notice during the Expo. The landlord should compensate the part exceeding the rent. Lu should also compensate for housing the dog and the unused satellite fee, said judges.


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