Simon Says: Can Property Management Office cut off your water supply?
Published09/21/2017 by Simon Choi
This is the thirtieth in a weekly series of legal advice provided in a short and entertaining story format.
每周轻松有趣法律常識故事系列 - 第30篇
Keywords:Contract, Property Management, Contracts for Supply of Power, Water, Gas, or Heat
Can Property Management Office cut off your water supply?
Jill is a resident of the Beverly Hill in the suburb of Guangzhou, a luxury prime location where many listed companies’ CEOs and the billionaires reside. One day, when she returned home late night, she found that all the things in her home were turned over, and her diamond jewelry all gone. A burglar had snuck in and stole everything.
Dismayed, she called the police, but as the security guard fell asleep, there were no records of anybody visiting Beverly Hill. The CCTVs had also been broken for half a year, and nobody had bothered to fix it. The police had no clue of who might have broken in at all.
As a result, Jill decided not to pay the monthly property management fee until her stolen diamond jewelry was fully set-off.
Two months later, the Property Management Office decided to send Alex to go ask her why she didn’t pay the fees. Jill replied smugly, “My house was burgled and all my diamonds were gone. This is due to the broken CCTV and your sleeping security guard. Do you really expect me to pay a dime for this quality of security? I am not going to pay until the money I lost has been recovered, and that, is going to be 50 years.”
Alex warned, “If you don’t pay the management fees, we will turn off your water hose, electricity grid and natural gas supply. The burglary was not caused by us, so you have no right not to pay the management fees. We will give you a week to repay the fees.”
Can the Property Management Office cut off all these utilities?
Prof Simon Says:
No, the Property Management Office has no right to cut off her water, electricity and natural gas supply even if she doesn’t pay the management fees. These services are not part of the service rendered by the Property Management Office. The contract between the Property Management Office and owners is property management contract whereby such contract regulates the terms of conditions of management service, such as lighting system and security service. While the responding companies providing utilities services such as power, water, and gas supply are regulated under the China’s Contract Law. It states where the power customer fails to pay the electricity fees and breach of contract damages within a reasonable time limit after receiving demand for payment, the power supplier may shut off the power supply. Therefore, the Property Management Office has no right to do so.
The Contract Law of China (1999)
Article 182 The power customer shall timely pay the electricity fees in accordance with the relevant provisions of the State and with the terms of the contract. Where the power customer delays in paying the electricity fees, it shall pay breach of contract damages in accordance with the contract. Where the power customer fails to pay the electricity fees and breach of contract damages within a reasonable time limit after receiving demand for payment, the power supplier may shut off the power supply in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the state.
Article 184 A contract for the supply of water, gas or heat shall be governed by reference to the relevant provisions on power supply contracts.
For more about this or to contact Professor Simon Choi at www.acmeardent.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, +86 13823677853 or by WeChat: simonhkchoi.
About the Author: Professor Simon Choi
Prof Simon Choi, solicitor and linguist, is an international lawyer, qualified to practise law in England & Wales and in Hong Kong, China. Simon graduated from law schools of the Peking University, the University of London and the University of Hong Kong respectively, with an in-depth knowledge of Chinese laws and common laws and with more than 20 years experience in China practice and international trade, investment, finance, merger & acquisition. He is an adjunct professor of laws at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. Simon is the founding partner of Acme Ardent and can be reached at email@example.com or +86 13823677853.
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