Mon­i­tor­ing On­line Rental Plat­forms

Peo­ple’s Daily Septem­ber 20

Beijing Review - - THIS WEEK PEOPLE & POINTS -

Sev­eral on­line prop­erty plat­forms in China have re­cently come un­der fire as the apart­ments they rent to cus­tomers have been found to have ex­ces­sive lev­els of formalde­hyde, a chem­i­cal used in mak­ing build­ing ma­te­ri­als and fur­ni­ture.

Some plat­forms of­fer apart­ments whose amount of formalde­hyde is three to eight times more than the ac­cept­able stan­dard.

The high lev­els of formalde­hyde pose se­ri­ous health haz­ards to ten­ants. What’s more trou­bling is that it’s dif­fi­cult for them to safe­guard their rights as the con­tract nor­mally has no ar­ti­cle of com­pen­sa­tion for an ex­ces­sive amount of the harm­ful gas. More­over, it’s hard

for a ten­ant who gets sick af­ter rent­ing an apart­ment to prove his or her ill­ness is di­rectly re­lated to the chem­i­cal.

The prob­lem re­flects loop­holes in on­line prop­erty plat­forms’ qual­ity con­trol and con­sumer rights pro­tec­tion sys­tems.

Su­per­vi­sion of such plat­forms should be strengthened by re­quir­ing them to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing when an apart­ment is ren­o­vated and ma­te­ri­als used dur­ing the process. In ad­di­tion, it should be com­pul­sory for newly ren­o­vated apart­ments to go through formalde­hyde tests ad­min­is­tered by third-party agen­cies be­fore be­ing ad­ver­tised for leas­ing. The stan­dards of com­pen­sa­tion for ten­ants when dis­putes oc­cur should also be made clear.

More im­por­tantly, In­ter­net com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing on­line prop­erty plat­forms, should im­prove in­ter­nal man­age­ment and shoul­der their so­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Com­pa­nies that pur­sue prof­its at the price of qual­ity of ser­vices will even­tu­ally lose cus­tomers and the mar­ket.

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