Culture Shock! China - A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, 2nd Edition

(Kiana) #1
Settling In 89

repair and maintenance. Ask the landlord where they
normally purchase appliances to make sure that you are
looking at the same models they will consider purchasing.
Landlords with multiple properties usually have preferred
relationships. If your landlord cannot suggest a place, look
at either Carrefour or at Gome. Both are reasonably priced,
and provide delivery and standard warranties.
It is very important to keep an accurate record of the items
that were provided by the landlord when you move in. You
should go through the entire apartment and create a detailed
list, all the way down to lamps, curtains and remote controls.
Have both parties sign the list. It is useful to take photos of
each room for your own records, just as backup. This prevents
any misunderstanding when you are moving out.

Housing Allowance and Contracts
If you have a company-paid housing allowance, it is important
that you confirm your landlord will provide you with an official
tax receipt. Depending upon the city, there is about a 5 per cent
tax that the landlord will have to pay each month to receive an
officially-recognised receipt. Your company will need this receipt
for its records and must have it if being audited. Paying taxes is
still viewed as an inconvenience rather than a responsibility in
China, and many landlords will attempt to increase the rental rate
if they need to include an official tax receipt. Make sure that it is
included from the start rather than having to renegotiate later.
Contracts are only valid in China if they are in Chinese. You
may request your landlord provide you with both English and
Chinese. Only the Chinese is valid so make sure that you have
someone fluent in both languages review the contract to assure
the Chinese version has the same terms and conditions as the
English version.

When your landlord offers to provide you satellite or cable
television, be sure and ask whether this is a legally provided
service. China still has media control and oftentimes a
compound is not allowed to have service. Many get around
this by purchasing individual satellite dishes. You can see

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