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Beijing house buyers allowed to check before pay
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Beijing residents will be able to pay for forward-delivery commercial houses after their onsite checking and approving the property upon their completion.

This new rule, recently ordered by the city's housing authorities, will come into effect starting from January 1 next year, formally ending a decades-long housing-developer-monoply practice of "money first, checking after".

In a circular earlier issued by the Construction Committee of Beijing Municipality, the rule stipulates that real estate developers must arrange buyers to check their houses first before any final payment is made after the houses pass a quality examination by the housing watchdog. Real estate developers must give their buyers a written notice seven days in advance, informing them of the exact time and address of an onsite housing inspection, along with any needed documents and certificates the buyer should bring along.

According to the rules, developers should not require buyers to pay any extra money or sign up for any property management services as a precondition, in exchange for paying the house after the check. Any developers who violate the new rules will be heavily fined.

The new rules also specify that prospective buyers can entrust other individuals or organisations, by way of written consent, to check the house on their behalf. In other words, professional inspectors can check the house to see whether or not it has any problems.

The new rules that bestow full rights on house buyers will also ban real estate developers from creating loopholes to shy away from letting people check a house first. Furthermore, developers should take immediate steps to address presale contractual errors, if the commercial property is found to have any problems.

To strengthen quality control and improve industrial practices in the real estate sector, the Construction Committee will also rebuke any developers who fail to obey the rules, restraining them from signing further contracts, as well as denying the extension of their quality certificate or qualification upgrade.

(CRI December 7, 2007)

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