China issues draft rules cleaning up property sales and rental market

© Reuters. Residential buildings under construction are pictured in Nanjing© Reuters. Residential buildings under construction are pictured in Nanjing

BEIJING (Reuters) – China issued a draft of new rules for property sales and leasing on Friday to improve management and operation in a part of the services sector that is often poorly regulated.

The draft rules require property developers to promptly publish accurate pricing information for new homes for sale, and must not charge various additional fees, hoard unsold homes or spread false information about rising prices.

China has struggled to control surging home prices over the last year, with the government often blaming dishonest practices by developers and property agents for encouraging higher prices for their own benefit.

The nationwide rules published by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development will be up for public comment for one month, and follow a number regional measures aimed at cleaning up the sector. There could be changes to the rules in the final version.

Property agents must be licensed and make charging standards clear and cannot publish any false information about properties, the rules say.

For property rentals, landlords and renters are encouraged to sign longer term contracts, with special incentives to be given for those who sign contracts for more than three years.

Landlords who want to break a rental agreement also need to give renters at least three months' notice, and cannot take back a home by force.

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