Tenancy disputes and solutions
For tenancy disputes, the general principles is that the landlord and the tenant can resolve the disputes by negotiation if there are no criminal conducts. However, the parties can also seek help from courts or professional bodies. The following are common tenancy disputes and related solutions.
- Non-payment of rents for more than 15 days
Under section 126 Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance (Cap. 7), there is an implied term in every tenancy that the tenancy agreement will be forfeited for more than 15 days of non-payment. In this case, there will no longer be any agreement. The landlord can claim for vacant possession of the property from the Court (including the Lands Tribunal) if there is no objection from the tenants. If the landlord is successful in obtaining a judgement against the tenant, he will be able to apply to the court for a Writ of possession. After a Writ of Possession is issued, the court bailiff will recover the possession of the property on the landlord’s behalf. This is an indirect yet legal way to evict the tenants who cannot settle the payment for more than 15 days.
- Recovery of outstanding rent
The landlord may make their claim for rent arrears at one of the following courts according to the nature of the claims:
- The Small Claims tribunal for claims of HKD 75,000 or less;
- The District Court for claims worth HKD 75,000 to HKD 3,000,000 and
- The Court of First Instance of the High Court which has unlimited jurisdiction.
- Compensation for destroyed property
If the property belonging to the landlords is destroyed by the tenants, the landlord can resolve the matters through negotiation. For example, the landlord can seek payment from the tenant to recover the repairing or replacement fee by talking with the tenants directly. In addition, if there are express terms in the contract which outline the compensation to be made for destroyed property, the landlord can also seek payment under the contractual terms.
- Unilateral termination of the tenancy agreement
Regarding the methods to terminate the tenancy agreements, parties can stipulate mutually agreed provisions in their own. If the tenants or landlords intend to terminate the agreement before the expiry of the contract, the party has to terminate the contract according to the terms in the tenancy agreements. In some tenancy agreements, there is a ‘break clause’, which requires the parties to give a written notice (usually two- or three- months before the termination) for the termination before the expiry of the tenancy agreements. However, if the tenancy agreements are silent on such terms, the parties should discuss the method of termination and come up with a mutually agreed plan.
- Tenant’s rights under the mutual covenant
Tenants are entitled to the same rights under the deed of mutual covenant as the owners. In case the tenants are not satisfied with the conditions of the common facilities, the noise and so on, the tenants can sue the neighbours causing nuisance or property management companies under the deed of mutual covenant in courts. In extreme case, the tenants can apply for a prohibitive injunction order from courts to put a stop to any further nuisance in tort.
 Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance (Cap. 7).
 Hong Kong Judiciary ‘Small Claims Tribunal’ https://www.judiciary.hk/en/court_services_facilities/sc.html accessed 31 May 2021.
 Hong Kong Judiciary ‘District Court’ https://www.judiciary.hk/en/court_services_facilities/dc.html accessed 31 May 2021.
 Hong Kong Judiciary ‘High Court https://www.judiciary.hk/en/court_services_facilities/hc.html accessed 31 May 2021.
 LTO (n. 1).