Landlord and Tenant
Landlord would wish the tenant to pay his rent on time, while the tenant also expects the landlord to maintain the property, and to provide a stable lease term and rent. Dispute between landlord and tenant nonetheless arises from time to time.
Understanding the respective rights and obligations of landlord and tenant under the tenancy agreement and relevant Ordinances will help avoid disputes.
What are the consequences of failing to stamp a tenancy document?
The landlord and the tenant who failed to stamp their tenancy agreement will be liable to civil proceedings by the Collector of Stamp Duty of the Inland Revenue Department.
A more important consequence is that the Court may not accept an unstamped tenancy document as evidence in civil proceedings. In other words, a party will have difficulties in enforcing the tenancy document against the other party (who has breached the Tenancy Agreement or Lease) in Court.
Moreover, a tenancy document must be stamped before it can be lodged with the Lands Registry for registration.
Why should you ask your property agent to conduct a land search before renting a property?
It had happened that people alleged to be the owner of a property for let disappeared with the deposit money after the potential tenant had paid the deposit and the rent in advance. If you are going to rent a property, then you should make sure that the landlord is the real owner.
The Land Registry provides a "Land Search" service to the public. Any person can conduct a search at the Land Registry to ascertain the ownership particulars of any property in Hong Kong. A potential tenant should always conduct a land search before entering into a tenancy document.
If the potential tenant is renting the property through an estate agent or has retained a solicitor firm, then the agent and the firm are duty bound to conduct such a search to protect the tenant's interests.