Juliet Risdon is a Director of JML Property and a property investor.
Having established the company in 1994, JML Property offers Investment Property & Homes. It specializes in managing properties for owners and investors, and providing attractive and comfortable homes for tenants.
With sales prices at a record high, most people arriving in Macau for the first time are looking to rent a property rather than make purchase.
Here are the top 20 questions we are asked by tenants; this week we discuss questions 11 to 15.
11. What can a landlord do if a tenant has not repaired damages?
When a tenant has not repaired damages, the landlord is entitled to take legal action and withhold the return of the security deposit until the outcome of that action.
Usually, when a tenant ‘checks out’ of a property, the inventory is reviewed and any discrepancy noted along with damaged items.
12. Must a landlord provide a receipt for a security deposit?
The law does not require an owner to provide a receipt for the security deposit.
It is a good idea to record the security deposit on the tenancy agreement or a separate piece of paper that can be signed and witnessed to avoid any disputes in the future.
13. Can a tenant withhold rent because a landlord is not maintaining the premises?
Unless there is a problem with the premises that makes it uninhabitable, such as a flood, unstable walls or floors, or open electrical wires, the tenant may not withhold rent.
Rents that are more than 8 days overdue are subject to a penalty of 50% under Macau Law, and if they remain unpaid for more than 30 days they are subject to a 100% penalty.
In order to maintain a good relationship with the owner and landlord, we suggest that tenants first inform the landlord that there is a problem that requires fixing.
14. Does the Landlord have the cash to fund improvements?
This is a question best asked upfront, before the lease is signed.
Once the answer is established, either in a positive or a negative way, you then have the information you require to make a decision on renting or not.
The landlord is not duty bound to improve a property, only to ensure that the property remains safe.
15. Can a termination notice be verbal?
Yes. A termination notice can be verbal provided both parties agree on the terms.
However, it is thoroughly recommended that tenants provide a written termination notice that clearly defines the dates concerned, and refers to the terms in the tenancy agreement.
This will help to avoid disputes, and a potential situation where a landlord can claim that they have not received any notice of termination.