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Cheating with renting out a flat?


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my girl friend and me searched for a new flat, Guangzhou somewhere out of town and found sth really nice on an expensive compound with a decent price (3500 for 140m², 2 balkonies, 2 washrooms, including some furniture, 10 years but a really good quality for China).

When I looked at the flat the second time, I asked the real estate for a cheaper price like 3300 (since admin fee is more than 200, water, gas etc. and I need to pay semi yearly since the Chinese owner is mostly abroad).

The agent called my gf and asked for his fee (50% of one month) plus 800 black if he helps us bargain it down with the owner. I disagreed for sure.

Now, after a couple of phone calls we're down to:

3000/month, pay two times yearly, 2 months deposit but I have to pay 3000 RMB agency fee.

The offer is good I think, the flat is awsome as well as the compound (including a golf course - which I won't use - and a swimming pool).

I'm just getting really suspicious - a Chinese who is generous and simply wants to help the foreigner save some money and agrees on 3000 each month?

No way - I've been too long in China to believe that. Could there be any scam or flaw behind this? If so - which? How?

I assume that the agent lies about the landlord doesn't want to pay the 50% agency fee. But still - that would be a very good bargain.

Anything else?



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a Chinese who is generous and simply wants to help the foreigner save some money and agrees on 3000 each month?

I'm confused, so to get this straight:

Original Rent Price - 3500

Final Rent Price - 3000

Original Agent Fee - 1750

Final Agent Fee - 3000

So he saves you 500RMB per month, but also wants another 1,250RMB for their service. Seems like basic bargaining, unless there are other factors like the typical apartment actually goes for 6,000RMB or the landlord doesn't exist since he is "out of town"?

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Original rent price: 3500

I asked for 3300

The agent offerd 3000

Original agent fee: 1750

He asked for additional 800 if he helps us to bargain which I didn't approve

Final agent fee: 3000 (with the reason that the owner doesn't want to pay for his half)

The landlords brother exist - he'll sign the contract with us.

The similar appartment for over 6000 is in the city center, 3000 is like 40 min outside. Just other flats around there outside got really expensive this year so that the price is similar.

Maybe it's simply a bargain. Kind of relieved that it doesn't sound like an obvious scam for you guys :)

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Sounds like the agent gets a bigger fee and you get lower rent.

Make sure the landlord's brother or the real estate agent is willing to go with you to the PSB to do the necessary paperwork.

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the fact that the brother, rather than the landlord is signing the contract would raise a red flag for me. make sure that the brother does have legal authority to bind the landlord.

in order to avoid a situation where the brother signs and you pay, but couple of days later the landlord comes and kicks you out of the apartment .

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It's not too uncommon for the official owner and the person renting the apartment out to be different. I think of the six apartments I rented in China, only once was it completely legit. Very often it's a case of "This is my dad's apartment, but he's 87 and lives in Hebei" or "This is my apartment. But technically I'm not allowed to rent it out, so say you're...a cousin. No wait, bignose, that won't work. A family friend... of a cousin..."

So basically, make judgement calls on the agent, the landlord and the situation. If it's too good to be true, probably is. If it's in the ballpark of what you know has worked for other people, fair enough.

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All of the agents I've dealt with have made a commission equal to one month's rent.

Agents are often in a precarious situation as they want to help a landlord rent an apartment, yet they don't want the final price to be adjusted too much as it clearly affects their back pocket. Clearly, not allowing any dickering whatsoever could lead to losing a sale.

It seems in your case that the agent is helping you haggle quite a bit, the cost of which is a higher agency fee. In the long-run, you're both winning.

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It's not unusual to have a choice between higher rent and no (or in your case half) agency fee, or lower rent and full agency fee. It's no scam and doesn't even necessarily affect the agent's bottom line - you're just paying what otherwise your landlord would have paid. Because he doesn't need to pay anymore, he's willing to accept a lower rent.

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I just figured it out ..

The agent just asked my gf not to give him his fee in front of the landlords brother - so he cheats on us with his fee.

Now I have to decide whether I want to play this game as well and smile happily when he lies in my face or whether I want to tell the landlords brother the truth.

I reckon it won't be safe anymore to live in this flat then since the agent know when I leave for holiday and maybe he has some "friends" as well who would be interested in breaking in or whatever.

China would be such a nice country if there just wouldn't be any Chinese ... :( Sh** feeling

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China would be such a nice country if there just wouldn't be any Chinese ...

I understand that this is influenced by the experience you're going through right now, but this is hardly the right thing to write on a forum dedicated to learning Chinese and living in China.

I think there's a big leap between "cheating" on the commission and breaking into your house, so I wouldn't necessarily discard the house based on that (of course, if you have other reasons to be distrustful about the agents, you might be safer walking away). You could always tell the brother what's going on, but I'm not sure it would increase your chances of getting the place...

All in all, you seem to be getting a pretty good deal still, so you might just go with it. I wouldn't necessarily call it a scam anyway - actually I think it's mostly about money that should have gone to the owner going to the agent.

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Yes .. maybe I should keep my feelings for me - everybody can make their own experience.

And I don't find it silly to feel bad about getting cheated and lied into my face.

Yes .. still seems to be kind of a good deal and I think I should go for since I like the flat - just not the circumstances.

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And I don't find it silly to feel bad about getting cheated and lied into my face.

I can understand your feelings, but do you know the amount of lies people tell everyday? Lies are a fact of life and vary from the sugarcoating things for a loved one to commercials and (smart) marketing to ordinary fraud and corruption.

And being cheated? I've seen no proof of that in your story. They made you an offer and it's up to you or you accept it or not. Where is the cheating? I can't judge, but have the impression a decent deal is offered. The offer and possibly subsequent contract is the result of negotiation, if you don't like the offer it's due to a lack of negotiation skills/power. The offer may very well be promoted by ommiting some info, telling half truths or even straight out lies but isn't that what virtually every commercial does?

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