2 February 2017 - Liza Boltz, has recently partnered with American Women’s Association (AWA) as their property expert to answer women’s property related questions. As a member of AWA herself, she gladly rose to the occasion. As questions came pouring in for Boltz, AWA selected those that appeared most. Airbnb, rental properties, and the internet were the most popular. Read below as Boltz answers questions relating to Hong Kong property and check out our Ask an Agent section for more FAQ.
Dear Liza, I am travelling for Easter holidays with my family. Can I rent out my apartment on Airbnb, do I need permission from my landlord?
Renting your apartment out on Airbnb or any other service is illegal in Hong Kong. According to the Hong Kong’s Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance, premises that offer sleeping accommodation for a fee (whether this is your private home or investment property) for any period less than 28 days must be licensed. This applies to both owners of the property or tenants. So regardless of permission from your landlord, leasing out your apartment on Airbnb, is against the law.
The maximum penalty for operating an unlicensed guest house is a HK$200,000 fine and two year’s imprisonment. There is also a fine of HK$20,000 for each day the offence continues.Enforcement is carried out by the Office of the Licensing Authority under the Home Affairs Department, and a spokeswoman said the office now has a dedicated team to browse the internet for suspected unlicensed guest houses.
Dear Liza, what should I look for in a rental property?
Assuming that you have found the neighborhood you like, that you have taken into consideration your mode of commuting and travel to and from school if you have kids. If you are choosing between properties and would like to know what you need to look for, here are some tips.
- Any illegal structures
- External maintenance – covered with bamboo and netting and perhaps months of drilling
- Individual landlord vs corporate landlord
- In the Tenancy Agreement, see whether the landlord or the tenant is responsible for the maintenance of the electrical appliances such as air conditioning units, washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, oven etc.
- Any water damage – see the condition in which the last tenant moved out, check for water damage and ensure that the source of the problem is fixed
- If top floor, check if there’s any leaking from the roof if you are considering an older building
Dear Liza, I work from home and my kids need high speed internet so they can do their homework but I am finding our internet is too slow. What do I do?
The fastest broadband experience in Hong Kong is through Fibre Optic Network.
There are two major providers of Fibre Optic services in Hong Kong:HKBN (up to 1000M speed) or PCCW/Netvigator (up to 10G speed). Find out if your particular unit is Fibre Optic ready. Not all units (whether old or new) are ready.
Be mindful that installation costs can vary greatly, so phone them to get a quote. Monthly subscription prices run from HKD600 to HKD2888.
IMPORTANT TIP! Check with your provider if you are eligible for FTTH (Fibre-to-the-home) which is end to end fibre runs from the street to your home. The other non-FTTH network is where the fibre extends only to the building’s electrical system, after which copper wire is used to run into households (much more slowly).
Company phone numbers:
HKBN – 128 100
PCCW/Netvigator – 2204 9375