Owning Properties – Series of Stories of Owners and Tenants

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Since when I started to own properties and have tenants? Funny isn’t it? Funnier is that I have them in Canada! Just imagine 15 years ago in China, nothing belonged to people for about 45 years after 1949! Everything belonged to the big communist country where everybody was a tenant! The fact is that the owner didn’t have the concept and means to maintain its properties leaving them in poor or nasty conditions and the tenants naturally tend to care less about them. As a cruel result, the whole country became bleak and ugly!

Only after I started my career as a mortgage broker did I realize that we have multi-typed properties in Canada! That is completely new to us who came from China where we have very limited type of properties: condominiums! Here we have not only condos, we have 2-plex to 4-plex where we have one- owner-only owning the whole building living in one of the units or not. We have 5-plex up to even hundred-units building where one owner is owning all of them and renting them to tenants, receiving rents as the benefit of the investment. These units are inseparable in ownership, therefore you can not buy them separately except buying them as a whole. We call them Apartment Building. They are one of the big investment items in the society.

Since we had not much clue about properties and we seldom owned them, we had not much of a good habit maintaining the conditions. Well, to say that, I have to exclude those of us who are care taking anyway whether the properties belong to them or not. Yet most of us, I should say,  tend to think that since they do not own the place, so they figure that they can do whatever they like, such as making many holes in the walls without asking the permission of the owner, cooking with lots of grease leaving the oven and the kitchen cupboards greasy and disgusting without cleaning for long long time. I heard and saw some apartments even having the ceiling dripping oil down!!!! Many Chinese who owned plexes told me not to rent to Chinese! Wow, that is something quite paradoxical, being Chinese owners not willing to rent to other Chinese tenants!

I owned my very first property in 1996. It was purchased then with all cash made while working for Impregilo, Holtzmann & etc. in China. To own a property was a very proud thing to do in China!!!! I bought it at the price of 100k,  spent 35k RMB and got the 5 & half-like apartment( condo) furnished.  I spent 35k RMB to furnish the apartment because most of the condos sold in China from day one of our housing market, they are not finished! The developers sell you a shell without furnishing it. There are the standard toilettes,  kitchen sinks installed while the floors and walls are still in concrete. So if you like fancy styles and you can afford it, you can do whatever you want. But to tell you the truth, leaving the job to every family to finish,  it created lots of trouble for the not handy families who rack their brains for what to do and buy, where to buy, and trouble for the community as well such as hearing noise and walking over construction garbage and slip over dust in the corridors and elevators even 5-10 years after the building is finished.

Owning properties is for sure a good and essential change for China where it gives back the occasion and chances for people  to realize and establish the basic value system again and eventually to care about the system which is directly connected to people. The ownership of properties was long eliminated and replaced by the communist Utopia everything-belongs-to-people-system, which was proved not working at all by various communist countries in the world. Nevertheless, people do not own the land under their properties, including  the 700 million farmers in the rural areas of China where all the farmers are tenants of the communist party,  only having the right to use the land rather than owning them…where it allows the richer city real estate developers to drive farmers into situations of not even having any land to use…

Please read the interesting article on NYT website about the recent Chinese Land Reform.

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