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Rows of residential buildings in Dalian, Liaoning province, as photographed on July 3, 2019. [Photo by Guo Yiming/China.org.cn]

More efforts should be made to promote the healthy development of the home rental market as China's urbanization gathers pace, said Yao Jinbo, a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature.

Establishing a sound home rental system helps to address housing woes in big metropolises and improve people's well-being, explained Yao, who is also the CEO of China's Craigslist-like 58.com, in an interview with China.org.cn on Thursday.

China's home rental market, especially those properties earmarked for long-term tenancy, stumbles due to lack of supervision and risky business models. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the collapse of Danke, one of China's largest online home rental platforms, demonstrating how vulnerable the highly leveraged housing market system is. The sudden dissolution of the company sent shockwaves through China's rental market.

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Yao Jinbo, a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) and CEO of China’s Craigslist-like 58.com. [Photo courtesy of Yao Jinbo]

Moreover, imbalances in demand and supply continue to exist, causing home rental prices in first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai to continue to grow, according to a report published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences last year.

China needs to increase legislation on home rentals and step up supervision, tame risky business operations, and protect the rights of both tenants and homeowners, Yao noted.

Moreover, cities should adopt differentiated measures to balance supply and demand through tax incentives in the home rental market, encourage homeowners to lease their properties through reliable institutions, and provide more affordable rental options for medium- and low-income populations via government-funded channels, Yao added.

The Central Economic Work Conference held late last year reiterated the principle that "houses are for living in, not for speculation," and that more efforts would be made to grant equal rights to both homeowners and renters.

Yao applauds the decisions made at the conference and calls for concrete actions to protect tenants' rights.