China: 房地产乱象之我拿什么来保护你"强势"的出租人

Last Updated: 8 August 2019
Article by Meng Bing and Liu Ying

房屋租赁关系中,出租人通常是强势的、享有绝对话语权的一方,而承租人则较弱势。既然如此,为何出租人还需要保护呢?

我们为商业客户提供法律服务时,亲历了很多案例,发现虽然租赁合同多为出租人提供,并赋予了自己很多权利,但行使权利时会遇到很多麻烦,陷入困境。举个最典型的例子:承租人迟延支付租金,出租人催收无果,承租人突然"人间蒸发",出租人该怎么办?你肯定会说,赶快解除合同把房屋腾空,再出租出去啊!可现实是,解除合同可能被认定无效,腾空房屋可能被认定违约或侵权,本来出租人是受害者,搞不好还要赔偿损失,简直"赔了夫人又折兵"!

此类情况在商业地产(通常指区别于住宅的办公楼或商铺,本文仅围绕商业地产租赁展开讨论)中尤其多见,下面,我们将在我国现行法律法规及司法实践背景下,多方面探讨在承租人欠租甚至跑路后,出租人该如何保护自身权益,并找到走出困境的出路。

问题一

承租人拖欠租金,出租人可否采取断水断电的措施?

这是困惑很多出租人的问题,出租人在发函催告无效后能否采取断水断电的措施迫使承租人缴纳租金?

※出租人可依合同约定行使有关权利。租赁合同可以约定出租人享有断水断电的权利,该约定并不违反法律法规的禁止性规定,也不违反公序良俗,应为合法有效。

※合同没有约定或约定不明时,出租人擅自断水断电可能构成违约。在广东省东莞市中级人民法院第(2018)粤19民终9555号案中,合同未对断水断电作出约定,法院认为在催收租金的次日即对店铺断水断电,未能给予承租人合理期限支付租金,故认定出租人违约。

※出租人应合理行使断水断电的权利。因承租人违约在先,出租人应有权暂停履行部分合同义务,如中断供水供电,但应控制在合理限度。北京市高级人民法院发布的审判指导意见认可了经营性租赁中出租人断水断电的催收租金方式,同时明确了行使条件和必要限度的要求:1、出租人事先催收行为;2、出租人事先告知承租人将采取断电(水、气)等行为;3、在催收和通知后承租人在合理期限内仍未支付租金。出租人还应确保断水断电对合同履行造成的影响应当与承租人欠付租金的数额、比例及过错程度相适应。否则给承租人造成损失的,仍需赔偿损失。

可见,法院对于出租人采取断水断电手段催收租金,有着严格的限制,断水断电造成的损失不应该超过拖欠租金的影响。但实践操作中,这个"火候"很难掌握,万一"火候"大了,还是难逃赔偿责任!

目前在大部分地区,法院尚未出台认可断水断电的审判指导意见,具体案件中对出租人断水断电催租的,是否判决赔偿的不确定性较大。

温馨提示:

建议在租赁合同中明确约定出租人断水断电的权利,以及断水断电前的通知和催收程序。在实施时,尽量确保断水断电的持续时间和波及范围在适当限度,尽量不给承租人的经营造成严重影响,尽量不造成停业,否则,仍可能赔偿损失。(断水断电的催收方式仅能适用于经营性租赁,并不适用于住宅房屋租赁,住宅的供水供电属于物业服务合同范畴。)

  问题二

出租人如何合法有效地解除合同?

当多次催收租金无果,出租人只能解除合同。最理想的是双方"和平分手",即协商一致解除合同;但在承租人不配合甚至失联的情形下,出租人只能单方解除或起诉解除(合同法并未规定"起诉解除"但司法实践普遍认可)。单方解除,相对快捷,被普遍采纳,自解除通知到达对方时合同解除,出租人应确保解除通知有效送达,否则解除不发生法律效力。如何确保有效送达?应注意如下问题:

※解除通知怎么发?通常采取当面送达、邮寄送达等方式,电子邮件、微信等电子送达方式也逐渐被认可。承租人失联的,采取传统的邮寄送达,可能因无人接收而被退件,建议考虑电子邮件或直接在租赁房屋门口张贴通知的方式。

※解除通知往哪发?优选合同约定的承租人地址,没有约定的,可以向公司注册地或实际经营地发送。租赁合同中,承租人的注册地一般即为租赁房屋所在地,两个地址是同一的。如承租人已经跑路,向租赁房屋地址发送,势必无法送达。那该怎么办?两个选择,其一,承租人有其他经营地址的,可以向该地址发送,但要证明承租人确在该地址办公,或证明收件人员确属承租人;其二,仍按合同约定地址发送,确保符合合同约定的"视为送达"情形。一般合同里会有"视为送达"的约定,即只要按合同约定的地址发送了通知,无论对方是否实际收到,都视为完成通知。具体"视为送达"情形可以参照有关民事诉讼中民事送达的有关规定(最高人民法院发布的《关于进一步加强民事送达工作的若干意见》等)。

温馨提示:

1、租赁合同应约定通知条款,其中应包括各方指定的有效送达地址、电子邮件等信息,以及"视为送达"条款。同时建议明确"司法送达"的有效地址,方便未来发生诉讼后向法院提供被告的送达地址。

2、无论采取哪种方式送达,一定留存好有关单据和送达证明,当面送达的应要求接收方负责人签收,邮寄送达的应留存邮寄凭证并保存送达记录,对方拒收或被退件的,要留存好完整信件并留存拒收或退件的证明。尽量不让邮寄人员将信件置于快递柜。

3、不建议采取微信或短信方式,因为数据容易丢失,不易长期保存。

问题三

合同解除后,承租人或次承租人、实际使用人不配合腾房的,出租人如何腾房?

租赁合同已经解除,但承租人不配合腾房或承租人早已"逃之夭夭",出租人怎么办?自行腾房吧,劳民伤财;起诉腾房吧,实在等不起。腾房这事儿真比"蜀道"还难!最好是采取各种战术,迫使承租人主动腾房,可以发函催告,但有的"钉子户"就是赖着不走,那就断水断电,胆子大的出租人还会换锁封门,但很可能承担赔偿责任。

※出租人自行腾房的风险。一般租赁合同会约定出租人自行腾房的权利,出租人可以依约自行腾房,但要垫付腾房而产生的相关费用,如清洁费、搬运费、装饰装修拆除费、第三方见证费等等,在承租人失联的情形下未来也很难向承租人主张赔偿上述费用。同时,腾房时如造成房屋内物品毁损、灭失的,还可能承担赔偿责任。最大的风险是,承租人如对合同解除效力提出异议且被法院认可的,解除不发生法律效力,依约腾房直接变成违约腾房,出租人不仅难以主张相关费用,可能还要赔偿承租人损失,得不偿失!

※起诉腾房的利与弊。比较稳妥的是起诉腾房,出租人不仅可以主张腾房,还可以主张承租人支付逾期腾房产生的使用费,使用费标准依合同约定;无约定的,一般参照租赁合同或转租合同约定的租金标准计算,或者参照同地段房屋租金标准。但诉讼周期会较长,且法院判决后如承租人不积极履行判决的腾房义务,还要进入强制执行程序。

※出租人有权要求次承租人或实际使用人腾房。如果房屋内还有承租人之外的第三人,如承租人转租的次承租人,或与承租人基于合作或其他关联关系而使用房屋的实际使用人,出租人能否直接腾房?虽然出租人与次承租人、实际使用人无合同关系,但出租人作为房屋的所有权人有权要求返还房屋。

需要特别注意:根据最高人民法院的司法解释,如果次承租人主动要求代承租人支付欠付的租金和违约金的,要求租赁合同继续履行,法院会支持,这就是第三人的"代偿请求权"。

温馨提示:

建议在租赁合同中明确约定出租人自行腾房的权利,并明确约定逾期腾房的赔偿标准。如遇承租人不配合或失联,出租人自行腾退房屋时一定要录音录像,对房屋内物品进行清点,整个腾退过程要进行证据保全,最好有第三方在场见证,公证优先,但目前公证处一般不再受理此类公证。

  问题四

房屋内遗留物品如何处置?

出租人自行腾房的,需要清理房屋内遗留物品,是进行保管,还是直接处分?如果保管,则需要占用额外的空间,还会产生费用;如果直接处分,未来承租人主张赔偿物品损失,也是麻烦。出租人又陷入两难的困境。

从法律关系看,合同解除后,出租人实际占有遗留物品,但并无保管义务,如进行保管,则属于"无因管理",可以向承租人主张管理费用。但如承租人迟迟不取回物品或失联,这种管理将遥遥无期,想必没有出租人愿意做这种"雷锋"。那么是否可以直接处分物品?

※合同可否约定租赁房屋内遗留物品的所有权归属

有的租赁合同会约定承租人逾期腾房,视为承租人放弃房屋内物品所有权,出租人有权处置,或承租人同意房屋内物品归属出租人所有。该约定属于承租人对自身权利的放弃,在违约后自愿承受物品所有权转移的法律后果,应为合法有效。南京市中级人民法院(2015)宁民终字第1318号判决肯定了这一约定的效力,并判决房屋内物品应归出租人所有。

但如遗留物品并非承租人所有,考虑合同相对性,则对第三人物品一般不能适用上述条款。

※出租人可否扣留房屋内承租人物品以抵偿租金

还有的租赁合同约定出租人有权扣留房屋内物品以抵偿租金或其他欠款,即行使留置权。租赁合同能否行使留置权,法律法规没有明确规定,根据物权法及担保法司法解释有关留置权的规定可知,留置权成立的两个核心要件是:1、限于同一法律关系中的动产,但企业间的留置不限。如修车没有付费,4S店有权将车辆扣留以行使留置权,但不能扣押其他物品,而租赁关系中,房屋内物品系承租人置于房屋内,与租赁合同并不相干,并非租赁关系中的动产,一般不能行使留置权,只有租赁合同双方均为企业,才可行使。2、满足"合法占有"的前提,恶意侵占不适用。在租赁期限内出租人并不占有房屋内物品,只有在合同期限届满或合同提前解除后房屋内的遗留物品,才由出租人占有,才可行使留置权。

可见,满足一定条件的,出租人应可以对承租人的遗留物品行使留置权。但法院对租赁合同能否行使留置权,并未达成共识,在江苏省高级人民法院第(2016)苏民申1807号案件中,法院没有支持出租人依约行使留置权,认为留置权为法定担保物权,只能依据法律规定形成,不能由双方通过合同设定。镇江市丹徒区人民法院第(2018)苏1112民初838号民事判决也未支持出租人关于行使留置权的主张。而北京市昌平区人民法院(2015)昌民(商)初字第10991号判决支持了出租人的留置权,法院认为出租人对承租人未按期腾退的遗留物品自然取得占有,且为合法占有,在承租人拖欠租金的情形下,出租人对其合法占有的遗留物品享有留置权,有权就该物品优先受偿。

※如遗留物品归属第三人或存在权属争议,出租人可否行使留置权

实践中不乏这样的案例:出租人扣留租赁房屋内遗留物品以抵偿租金,半路却杀出个"程咬金"主张房屋内物品由其所有,要求出租人返还物品或赔偿损失。有的法院基于保护第三人的物权,直接认定出租人无权占有,判决出租人返还物品。

我们认为法院的上述认定过于武断,应根据出租人是否知晓遗留物品并非归属承租人而区别对待,根据担保法司法解释关于留置权的善意取得的规定,如果不知晓,则仍可以对第三人的物品行使留置权。上文提及的(2015)昌民(商)初字第10991号案件中,法院认为出租人留置的财产权属虽有争议,但由于出租人在占有该物品时,并不知晓物品所有权存在争议,故出租人为善意,仍可以行使留置权。

反之,如果知晓或者应当知晓,则留置权的主张将得不到支持。北京市第二中级人民法院第(2019)京02民终2703号案中,法院认为根据第三人提供的合同内容,出租人应知晓物品归属第三人,故出租人无权行使留置权。

温馨提示:

在租赁合同中明确约定房屋内遗留物品的所有权归属条款。租期内加强监督管理,避免承租人擅自将房屋交给第三人使用。如出租人同意承租人转租或将房屋无偿提供第三人使用,则应要求次承租人或实际使用人出具书面承诺,确认同意出租人对房屋内由其所有的物品行使留置权。

综上可见,承租人拖欠租金,甚至失联,出租人很难追回租金和损失,还将承担腾退费用及物品保管费用等损失。虽然租赁保证金(一般仅为三个月左右的租金)可以弥补一定损失,但考虑到已发生的租金损失、腾房损失、房屋闲置期间的租金损失等诸多损失,岂是三个月租金金额的保证金可以补偿的?立法和司法实践应逐步认可承租人违约在先时出租人有权采取断水断电等抗辩行为,并认可出租人可以处分租赁房屋内遗留物品,或行使留置权。

同时,建议出租人注意租前对承租人的信用和经营状况进行必要调查,租后加强对租赁房屋的管理,尽量避免实际使用人与承租人不一致或承租人突然"人间蒸发"的情况出现。

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Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

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