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Freedom is the next “egg shell”? Long-term rental apartment suffers from “new crown sequelae”



Ziru Apartment is carrying out a large-scale housing contract cancellation work across the country. This long-term rental apartment brand incubated by Lianjia has at least 1 million houses nationwide, serving 500,000 owners and 1.5 million tenants.In the past few years, it has successfully established a high-end white-collar brand image in first-tier cities, with a housing occupancy rate of 95% and a user reputation net recommendation value of 60.55%. Even in February, when the epidemic was raging severely, Ziru successfully received a $1 billion investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund.

However, under the influence of the successive thunderstorms in long-term rental apartments and the decline in rents brought about by the epidemic, Ziruo also had to start a large-scale internal housing adjustment.

Many owners of Ziru told Phoenix.com (WeChat search: iFeng Technology) that in recent months, they received intensive calls from Ziru butlers asking for rent reduction. After the owners refused, it turned into a forced termination.“Strong attitude, not discussing with you at all.”Relevant tenants revealed to Phoenix.com that Ziran was using different arguments for the landlord and tenants, saying “to the landlord to reduce the rent, and to the tenant to terminate the contract.”

Prior to this, there have been a number of media reports on the large-scale termination of the contract in the Guangshen area.However, Phoenix Network Technology (WeChat search: iFeng Technology) found that the free contract cancellation work area covers the whole country, involvingBeijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Nanjing and other cities.

A Lianjia employee revealed to Phoenix.com that since such a large-scale termination is to clear the non-performing assets on the previous platform.Under the influence of the epidemic, the housing occupancy rate in first-tier cities has declined. According to him, some houses that have been signed on a large scale before are difficult to rent.

Faced with the strong wave of cancellations on the platform, the owners and tenants on the Ziru platform are in a weak position. Several owners told PhoenixNet Technology thatIn the process of compulsory termination, Ziru asked the owner to pay the previous house decoration costs, ranging from several thousand yuan to tens of thousands of yuan, to offset the liquidated damages. Even in the event of a breach of contract by Ziru, the owner has to pay Zirou.

Ziru stated to Phoenix.com that the rent leasing industry, as an area most affected by the epidemic, is still relatively weak in market demand, and rents continue to run at low levels. It is still difficult to improve the operating conditions of individual areas in the short term, especially the commissioned prices of individual houses. Trend of serious upside-down with rental prices.

Ziru emphasized that the houses that initiate price negotiation account for a small percentage of the million houses managed by Ziru. In response to the loss of decoration and configuration that requires owners to pay compensation, he said freely, “Even if the cost of decoration and configuration we invested in the previous period cannot be fully recovered before the contract expires, we will fully negotiate with the owners and try our best to protect the rights and interests of the owners.”

Just six months after moving into Ziru from Eggshell Apartment, Liu Heng (pseudonym) had to move again.

She works for an internet company in Shenzhen and earns a decent income. She had previously rented an eggshell apartment, but was forced to terminate the contract by the platform.“We only learned at that time that the rents that eggshells rented to several of our tenants were not as high as the rents to the landlord.”She spent a lot of effort and complained from many parties, and finally got the one-month rent compensation stipulated in the contract.

The free room she moved into in April has a large floor-to-ceiling window. When you push it open, you can directly see the sea in the distance. Liu Heng is very satisfied. She feels that the free platform is bigger and the “funding chain will be better”, and it should not appear again. The eggshell situation.

But just six months after she moved into her new home, on November 8, she received a notice from the housekeeper, “said that the landlord is going to sell the house” and asked her to move out before the 15th.

“At first, I really thought it was the landlord who wanted to sell the house,” Liu Heng said, but when she went to search on Weibo, she found that there were many tenants with similar conditions.“And they are all free to unilaterally request termination.”

Soon, the housekeeper Ziru recommended to her a similar house nearby, but the price was 500 yuan more than the room she was renting now. She joked,“It turned out to be to increase rents.”She was a little unhappy and refused to change the rent freely. But the housekeeper of Ziru said, “On the company’s side, only customers can be paid.” In other words, only if she continues to renew the contract in Ziru, can she get compensation for breach of contract.

“This is the case now, and I can only apply, because the approval is still from the headquarters,” the housekeeper said to her.

Jiang Lei in Beijing is also worried about the house recently. He encountered the same situation as Liu Heng. Just less than 5 months after he moved into Ziru, the housekeeper asked him to move out within 15 days on the grounds of the landlord’s termination.But after he contacted the landlord, he foundThe termination is not the landlord’s initiative, but the free initiative.

“I can rent freely after graduation. Generally, the rent of Freedom is 10-20% higher than the average around. I just choose to rent a bit more expensive because I think it is reliable.” Jiang Lei said. The monthly rent for this two-bedroom apartment is 7,000 yuan. Half of the income is spent on rent.

After the housekeeper informed him that he wanted to move out, he hadn’t figured out what to do next. The contract stated that Zirou would compensate for one month’s rent, but many people on Weibo said that Zirou would not compensate.

The compensation seems to be second, finding a house is not easy,The 15-day removal period given by the free housekeeper is far less than the one month agreed in the contract.“I’m looking for a house now,” he said, “I’m really afraid that one day the house code will suddenly be changed and the things will be removed.”

The landlords first discovered that there was something wrong with Ziru. Most of them started from receiving a private call claiming to be Ziru’s housekeeper. During the call, the other party asked the landlord to reduce the rent due to the depressed housing income or the removal of the partition. The second half of 2019.

Wang Weiwei (pseudonym), a Beijing owner of Ziru, told Phoenix.com (WeChat search: iFeng Technology) that since December last year, she received intensive calls from Ziru’s housekeeper requesting a rent reduction of 800 yuan on the grounds that the house’s partition was removed. She entrusted Ziru a three-bedroom apartment in Daxing in February 2018. The lease term is 4 years and will not expire until 2022.

“It’s totally’bombing'”, she said, “you are constantly being called by different people with ease.”There are 17 contacts listed on her mobile phone who are free to note, most of them contact her to request a rent reduction.

Another was also asked to reduce the rent. Beijing Changhe (a pseudonym) was unbearable. Her house was entrusted to Ziru at the beginning of last year. Just half a year later, in October 2019, she received a call from Ziru asking for a rent reduction. Six waves, take your turn to fight”,Most freelance housekeepers also don’t know the condition of her house.

Starting from September 2020, rent reduction calls have become contract calls. Wang Weiwei told Phoenix.com that in October she received a text message from Freedom asking for forced termination.After she refused, Ziru still sent her a letter of dismissal.

Freedom is the next "egg shell"? Long-term rental apartment suffers from "new crown sequelae" 1

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Cancellation notice sent by Ziru to Wang Weiwei

According to the contract, ZiRuo unilaterally breached the contract and was required to compensate the owner for 2 months’ rent loss. However, the contract termination plan presented to it by Ziruo is that “the two parties shall not bear each other’s liability for breach of contract (not pay liquidated damages to each other)”.

Wang Weiwei could not accept such contract termination conditions, but when she boarded the Ziru App, she found that the status of her contract with Ziru had been changed to “termination”. Within a few days, she received a free cancellation payment, a total of 2,400 yuan,Only 1/3 of the monthly rent.

“Freedom has aHidden terms“, Chang He said to Phoenix.com. The contract stipulates that “Party A (the owner) shall pay Party B (freely) the loss of decoration and new facilities when the contract is terminated in advance”, and the contract also states that The specific amount of fees designed in the terms is subject to the relevant data provided by Party B (Ziru)”.

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Screenshot of the contract signed with the owner

In other words, no matter which party is in breach of contract, as long as the contract is terminated early, the owner must compensate Ziruo. According to the relevant owners, the amount of compensation ranges from several thousand yuan to tens of thousands of yuan, and there may even be cases in which Freedom breaches the contract and the owners need to pay to Freedom.

However, many owners told Phoenix.com (WeChat search: iFeng Technology) that when the house was previously entrusted to Ziruo, Ziruo guaranteed that the decoration and configuration of home appliances would be left to the landlord free of charge.

Li Junhui, a special researcher of the Intellectual Property Law Research Center of China University of Political Science and Law, told Phoenix.com that in accordance with Article 497 of the Civil Code,The clause that “the party providing the standard clauses unreasonably exempts or reduces its liability, aggravates the other party’s liability, and limits the other party’s main rights” is invalid.

He said: “This kind of standard clause obviously aggravates the landlord’s responsibility, constitutes an invalid clause in accordance with the law, and does not bind the landlord. It is free to terminate the contract by breach of contract. If losses occur, the cause is due to their own breach of contract.The landlord is not liable for compensation or compensation”。

The scale of this cancellation and retreat spread across the country. On the Internet, landlords and tenants in many first- and second-tier cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other cities complained about the forced termination of the contract.

In a Beijing Ziru owner’s rights protection group that Chang He has joined, more than 500 Ziru owners who have been forcibly terminated have gathered.According to Chang He, a free housekeeper once said when communicating with her about the terminationIn the Beijing area, more than 6,000 houses were cancelled in October.

In recent years, the intensive outbreak of long-term rental apartment runaway incidents has aggravated the anxiety of the owners. “The free capital chain is okay,” a chain worker told Phoenix.com (WeChat search: iFeng Technology), “It’s just that the house previously collected cannot be rented out and the loss is too great.”

According to him, from 2016 to 2018, Ziruo acquired a large area of ​​housing in the market and agreed with the landlord to increase the annual rent. However, with the housing market rent in first-tier cities in 2020, it is difficult to balance revenue and expenditure.

The “October 2020 China Urban Housing Rental Price Index Report” jointly issued by East China Normal University Oriental Real Estate Research Institute, Shanghai E-House Real Estate Research Institute China Real Estate Evaluation Center and other institutions shows that China’s urban housing rental price index continued to decline overall in October Trend, the index was 1040.06 points, a decrease of 0.10% month-on-month and a decrease of 0.27% year-on-year.

In the past few years, long-term rental apartments have surged in first-tier cities, and there has even been an “upside down” situation where the closing price is higher than the rental price.The larger the scale, the greater the loss of the “curse” frequently appears on long-term rental apartments.

Earlier financial reports released by Eggshell Apartments showed that the losses from 2017 to 2019 were 270 million yuan, 1.4 billion yuan and 3.4 billion yuan respectively. Correspondingly, the scale of eggshell apartments managed houses decreased from less than 3,000 units in 2015. Increased to 440,000 sets in 2019.

Ziru did not publicly disclose its financial data. The prospectus issued by Shell shows that in 2017, 2018 and 2019, Shell Group’s revenue from the Ziru platform was 269 million yuan, 357 million yuan, and 309 million yuan respectively.In the Q1 quarter of 2020, which is deeply affected by the epidemic, Shell’s income from Ziru is only 20 million yuanThe impact of the epidemic is evident.

Prior to this, Ziruo was also exposed to a substantial increase in rents under the pressure of the epidemic. Ziru CEO Xiong Lin denied that, saying that Ziru’s recent price adjustments are due to different types of product renewals and price adjustments in the established system based on market price changes. “I dare not say that it is 100% reasonable, but there is absolutely no case of taking advantage of the epidemic. The despicable drilling camp initiated by the aircraft”. He also said that if one case of evidence is found to increase prices while taking advantage of the epidemic,“I and the entire management team will resign immediately.”

However, like most entrepreneurs on the cusp, he chose to close his Weibo comment area. Just after he posted the response on Weibo, a tenant from Ziru reposted that if he renewed his lease for half a year, he would have to increase by 300 yuan. Xiong Lin later responded,“This rule is unreasonable, we will improve it immediately and contact you for a refund.”

Ziru did not deny the recent termination of the contract with the landlord. Ziru told Phoenix.com that the housing leasing industry is an area that has been greatly affected by the epidemic. The market demand is still relatively weak, and rents continue to run at low levels. It is still difficult to improve the operating conditions of individual areas in the short term, especially the commissioned prices of individual houses. Trend of serious upside-down with rental prices. Therefore, Ziroom and some landlords “have started friendly negotiations” on entrusting contracts and moderately reducing rents.

In response to the loss of decoration and configuration that requires owners to pay compensation, Ziru said, “If there is a compensation problem for decoration configuration and furniture and appliances, even if the contract period is not expired, the cost of decoration and configuration invested in the previous period will not be fully recovered. Fully negotiate with the owners and try their best to protect the rights and interests of the owners. At the same time, I also look forward to cooperating again in the future when the market picks up or a new cooperation model.”

More landlords have lost trust in Ziru. Wang Weiwei has received a cancellation payment of 2,400 yuan from Freedom, but she still has not collected the house.She has added a lot of rights protection groups, and the owners in the group have made up their minds to go to the court to sue freely, but the attorney fees are also a considerable expense.

She thought, as long as the house is confiscated, “the house will still be in charge.”

Produced the “Eye of the Wind” in-depth report group Phoenix Net Technology Phoenix News Client

Author | Edited by Xue Xingxing | Yu Hao