New Regulations to Kill Group Renting in Shanghai

Finally, the new regulation on house rental in Shanghai come out at the end of th last month.

This regulation is aiming to get rid of the group cohabitant.

What is Group Cohabitant

I may use the wrong translation, but it is a popular way for people to share rental cost. In Shanghai, there are people who buy or rent the whole apartment, and separated into different rooms, and then rent it separately to different people. This is very common nowadays.

For example, last time I visited my friend and saw a “modern apartment”. It was originally an apartment with 3 bed rooms and 2 living rooms. The owner pull down some walls and setup some new walls, to create a 5-room apartment. Each has doors. At the entrance, there are 5 electricity meters, and 5 gas meters, so they can pay their share of the utility cost. They have satellite TV, bed, TV, air-con, shower, micro-wave, and many facility young people need. This apartment is in a very good residential area, and they charge for 1500 RMB per month.

There are also some low end apartments which allow 20 or more people to live in. They rent only a bed within a room and there may be many beds in the room. They charge only 300 – 400 RMB per month.

The Regulation

The regulation coming out two days ago prohibit this kind of group renting. It requires apartments in Shanghai must be rented to a family, or an individual, not many people. Everyone should has its own room or at least 5 sq. meters.

I don’t like this Regulation

Recently, it seems there are more regulations coming out every month than before. Every time I see some regulation like this, I just smile and comment: the government is just getting crazy.

  • There is need for people to share apartments. Shanghai’s real estate price just raises to be even as expensive as Tokyo, and even people with very good income cannot afford to buy a house. Where can those low-income people live? On the street? Maybe not a good idea. They have to think of ways to solve this problem.
  • To simple solution to complicated issue.. There are many problems brought by group renting, like security, noise, damage of house… but the key is solve these problems instead of just kill the whole way of living. Policy makers just want to find easy way to complicated situation. It is just like this: “How to solve the problem that the China’s population is too big?”, they may answer: “Easy. Kill half of them.” It sounds an easy and really working solution, but you need to respect the right of everyone, not just the half that survive. To ban group renting is the same thing.
  • Not practical. There are so many situation that is not covered in it. The media’s attention was draw to the fact that this regulation may forbidden unmarried couple to live together, or several friends living together. Some media outside China may even mis-read the rule as a way to ban Gay Couples (look at here: Shanghai Orders Landlords Not To Rent To Gay Couples). I would say this obviously exaggerated the situation since the regulation didn’t mean it, although it caused similar result.

Every time I read the release of a new regulation, I just worry how that can be implemented, and what they think when they make it. Well. The good thing (actually the bad thing ) is, since any regulation is just a piece of paper, and no one really follow it, it does not matter, and people don’t care. Maybe, it is just because of the abundance of ridiculous regulations that created the chaos of unregulated market even with the most regulations.

14 thoughts on “New Regulations to Kill Group Renting in Shanghai

  1. I am really agree with you with the issue.

    I am in Qingdao, a place where the income is low and the real estate is really high. The average income is around 1.5k and the average cost of house is above 8k. How can the people afford to by the house.

    It is very comment for some friend to share a apartment nowadays. It will reduce the cost for living and save some money to buy the house.

    Really confused how these kinds of regulation be released.

  2. Really, why they want to have regulation when they are unable to enforce it ? You are right – it is just a piece of paper.

    The authority should look at the situation clearly and find solution to the need of the people. Sometime people live and share rental is to cut cost because there is not enough cheap housing available. The Government should look into this area instead of coming out with regulation.

    There are more pressing problems in Shanghai for example the traffic situation and pollution on the whole. Some customers in the restaurant breathe in unhealthy smoke as there is no regulation regarding smoking in the confined aircondition areas. They should come up with separate smoking and non-smoking area for diners.

    Regualtions should serve the people well and not the other way round.


  3. Great post! Curious, when you say that “regulation is just a piece of paper”, what does that mean? Are you saying they can’t enforce it, or they won’t enforce it? It does seem that this happens often – when an overarching regulation is put into place to solve a specific issue… turning one specific problem into an even bigger one.

  4. The standard way for students and young unmarried people to live, in the rest of the world is to share a “flat”, or house or apartment with more than 1 bedroom. Everyone contributes to the rent and power , telephone etc.

    Are you saying that in China now that no one can live with anyone else?

    Unless they are with parents or are married?

    There is a growing trend also, in the west for older widows (especially ,as ther eare more of them) to live together in a house rather than to go to an old peoples home.

    Perhaps what is intended to be restricted is “subletting”. Where the first tenant makes a profit by on-selling rooms to others. This is commonly banned by many house or apartment owners elsewhere too.

    Perhaps the answer is just for all the people to end up in another financial arrangement by sharing better.

  5. Another problem, not mentioned, with these crazy regulations, is that they are enforced arbitrarily. That is, they directly lead to corruption of the enforcers who are open to payoffs by people with money, just because they have the power, and the results are meaningless and ugly.

    The rule of law means that the laws must be reasonable and enforced fairly and transparently. None of those conditions exist today in China, so it has no rule of law, and no hope ever of having such. It is not democracy that is the question, Shanghainese don’t want democracy, even the middle class, the people in Yunnan would outvote them.

    In all megacities of the world, including Shanghai, there is now and will rapidly become a huge problem. People move to these megacities to work, but they stop having children. So the megacities fill up with old people. There are not enough workers to support them, and the social security systems are inadequate or will fail. They will die lonely, probably in massive heat waves caused by global warming.

    Many people everywhere buy expensive houses with their life savings and then ever try to maintain those savings in the form of property values. They don’t want a lot of poor people living nearby and dragging down their property values. So they are against people sharing flats, against people different in any way from them and their social class. They try to force these other people to move out. The consequence is that property values drop, nobody will buy those expensive houses then.

    Instead of passing silly regulations that lead only to corruption, our leaders ought to consider what the real problems are and how to solve them. Old people should be encouraged to work and contribute to society and society should value them and take care of them, they should not be allowed to die lonely. College students and young workers should be allowed the necessary freedom to experiment with new ways of living and take responsibility for their actions, not be bullied by some nanny state. People of all classes and colors and backgrounds should be encouraged by every means to live together and learn how to get along in this world peacefully.

    I am sad to say that in my experience Shanghainese have a lot to learn in this respect. They depend on migrant workers without hou kou but they despise them and exploit them. They need experts from other countries but cheat them and steal their money. In many cases they simply refuse to try to understand anybody who does not speak with their dialect. When this so-called world-class city is flooded from global warming nobody will be able to understand what they are crying about.

  6. I really don’t see what is the point of these “policy”, where do these so-call “policy makers” come from????

    As a “migrant workers without hou kou”, I gave nearly 10 score for the first time I came here before graduate, and I felt quite willing to locate myself here, but looking into this, I feel a little confused about the decision made 2 years ago.

    Without a doubt there are different kinds of discrimination in cities China as long as you are from so-call not that modern places compared to the one you go, we accept that, and it is easy to see that people with high income will stand this easily, but how about middle and low income groups, is it Darwin’s theory gonna work again at this point? I better hope not!

    I really hope, and I am trying to be a good government policy follower, pay income tax voluntary, do legal business, Q-up so on, but when facing this, specially as a “migrant workers without hou kou”, I really expect re-considering “policy” action could happen.

    Good post anyway, thank you very much, Jianshuo.


  7. There is also a regulation against prostitution, satellite antenna, and fake DVD. But it is everywhere!

    China like to make regulations that they do not make apply, so everybody break the law… And one day if they want to punish one person for whatever reason, they use a law that this person break (like everyone). So to punish someone for a crime that do not exist in the law, they use a law that is apply by nobody.

    So, they use the Law to make a country not rules by law but by the will of a few powerful.


  8. Shanghai real estate is over price if you compare with the income level earn by the general public.

    I guess policies shall be form on how to prevent apartment units are manipulated rather than not renting it out. Shall impose heavy levies, or taxes for owning more than one apartments, etc. That will at least make some room for those who really want on budget but would like to have a apartment of their own too. Apartment in Shanghai are manipulated by the above average group, and they are the one that make the market price soar higher by reselling it out by making a huge profit.

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  12. I am sorry I cause you so much trouble.Forgive me to have disturbed you please.And not long after I started to work there.I haven’t go over your blog.I am new.

  13. i want to write a paper on group renting in shanghai and the best mechnism to regulate .so i seach the material by google, finally i read it .

    i strongly agree with you ,the government seems crazy!

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