My apartment drama finally came to a close last week as I moved out and ended my old contract. I got back my deposit from the agency, but only because they made the landlady cough up over RMB20,000. I am relieved to be done with them, a serious bunch of deceitful and greedy lowlifes who exploited me and my landlady (and probably a ton of other people too).
Regarding my landlady’s big payout to them, she did this because the agency flatly refused to abide by their contract with her and refused to allow her to end it by paying the stated cancellation fee (of about 6,000). Instead they claimed, according to her, that their business was bad and they needed to regain money on the lost income from the apartment, so they at first demanded something like 15,000. Then they raised it to 30,000, saying that because the landlady had sold the place through another agency, they lost out on the fees. To recap, my landlady was selling the home and she’d found a buyer who said he needed to move in in January.
It makes one think what worth does a contract have (this is the mainland after all) if an agency can just disregard its own contract signed with a client and demand more money.
You’d think such a blatantly dishonest act would merit being able to turn to the authorities and get them to take action. My landlady tried that, including visiting the police, but she kept getting the runaround and being directed to other departments, and her only real option was to go to court. As she wanted the issue to be resolved quickly and because she was concerned the agency might harass her or the new owner, she decided to pay them off. The agency might be a bunch of shady circus clowns, but people like them are capable of doing things like hiring thugs to attack people or vandalize property.
In the end, I think the landlady could have been firmer and held off paying them, if only to see some justice. But she said she just wanted to get it over with quickly and without trouble. I did feel a little sad at leaving since the place was really good, but I’m glad to leave the agency (a small agency with several branches, one of which is opposite the Canadian embassy) behind too.
Besides all this, I took a quick trip to Hong Kong on the weekend to attend a cousin’s wedding. It was decent, but it was especially good to see some of my other uncles and aunts from North America, who I hadn’t seen in years.