Long-term rental apartment prepayment is not "Tang Seng meat"

  Guo Ziyuan

  Since the beginning of this year, due to the impact of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, the occupancy rate of some long-term rental apartments has declined, and rental income has decreased, especially the sharp drop in cash flow from the "rental loan" business, which has caused some long-term rental apartment companies to have difficulties in capital turnover.

Recently, Eggshell Apartments has been reported successively in default of payment to suppliers and rent from landlords, and news that tenants have been cut off from water and electricity.

For a while, the "rental loan" model behind long-term rental apartments and the supervision of the use of prepaid rent aroused great concern from all walks of life.

This also shows that it is imminent to strengthen the supervision of housing leasing fund accounts, and that long-term apartment rents are not something that everyone can move.

  In the traditional second-hand housing leasing market, participants are landlords, tenants, and intermediaries. The latter provides information and transaction matching services for the first two, and generally charges one month's rent as an intermediary fee.

After the contract is signed, the tenant is required to pay a deposit and rent. For example, in Beijing, the common practice is "pay three with one deposit".

After that, rent is paid every 3 months.

The most prominent problem with this model is that the tenants are under greater pressure to pay for the first time. "Pay three on one pledge" plus an intermediary fee worth one month's rent is equivalent to paying five months' rent at a time.

Therefore, the "rental loan" model has a market.

  Under the "rental loan" model, the participants in the entire link have changed, namely, the landlord, long-term rental apartment operators, tenants, and commercial banks.

Among them, the tenant signs an agreement with the long-term rental apartment operator. The commercial bank grants a loan to the tenant. The money is paid to the long-term rental apartment operator. The long-term rental apartment operator then pays the rent to the landlord on a monthly and quarterly basis.

In other words, the landlord and the tenant do not directly exchange funds.

  At first glance, this model can benefit all parties-landlords get customers and rent, tenants' payment pressure is eased, banks get loan proceeds, and long-term apartment operators get tenants' rent for one year in advance. .

But the problem is precisely here. The rent is not paid directly to the landlord, but to the long-term rental apartment operator.

Invisibly, long-term rental apartment operators pooled funds in advance to form a pool of funds.

  As far as the current situation is concerned, not only does this pool of funds have not received strong supervision; on the contrary, most long-term rental apartment operators often choose to leverage the purchase of more houses to achieve rapid expansion after receiving the money.

But once the rental income drops and the source of rental loans decreases, this mode of operation will "explode" and even fall into a liquidity crisis, and cause various disputes.

  Therefore, in order to effectively avoid risks, it is urgent to strengthen the supervision of housing rental fund accounts.

At present, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Xi'an, Chongqing and other cities have successively issued documents expressly requiring the strengthening of housing leasing fund supervision.

Among them, Shenzhen clearly stated that it is not allowed to drive up lease prices, increase the risk of corporate capital breakage, and infringe the legitimate rights and interests of housing rights holders and tenants through methods such as "high input and low output", "long income and short payment".

  Managing rent is only the first step. In the face of a complex market environment and various potential risks, regulatory measures should also "run ahead of risks" and be more forward-looking, with more precautions and less remedial measures.