China is pushing development of the home rental market in large and medium cities to address rising rental demand from urban newcomers.
Measures will be taken in cities with net population inflows, including increasing rental housing supplies and setting up a government-backed home rental service platform, according to a notice issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and other government departments.
With a migrant population of 245 million, and some 7 million college graduates starting work each year, newcomers to Chinese cities often find it hard to find a lease due to insufficient supply, market irregularities and lack of government support.
To solve the issue, the ministry is asking local governments to increase land supply for rental housing and enhance financial support for home-rental companies to build houses and apartments especially for rent.
Some state-owned enterprises could turn into home-rental companies to lead the development of the sector, it said.
The government also encourages real estate developers, housing brokers and property service providers to set up subsidiaries on housing rental business.
Authorities of large and medium cities with net population inflows should establish service platforms for home renting, where information of available housing can be exchanged and rental deals can be regulated, so as to protect the rights of both sides and enhance market supervision.
"This would help solve the long-standing issues of fake advertisements and intransparency in the market, so that people would feel assured about leasing a home," said Chai Qiang, deputy head of China Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and Agents.
Pilot projects will first be established in 12 cities including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanjing and Hangzhou, according to the ministry.
In its latest effort to increase the number of renters and curb property prices, local authorities in the country's southern economic powerhouse Guangzhou have decided to give tenants and homeowners equal rights to education resources.
In many Chinese cities, the right to attend schools is limited to the offspring of homeowners rather than tenants. Guangzhou is the first top-tier Chinese city to grant such rights to renters.
China also released a draft of its first regulation on housing rentals and sales in May, which listed detailed rules that supervise market participants, including requiring that written rental contracts are signed with specified rules regarding lease terms, rents and the rights of tenants.