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Choosing a location to set up your business in China

Choosing a location is one of the first decisions that companies must make when entering a new market. Location and a strategic site selection plan can have a major impact on the success of the business, affecting production, operation, and sales. Therefore, companies must take steps to ensure they have the right information before committing their time and money.

Regions with free trade zones and preferential policies

Some locations offer more preferential policies to foreign investment based on the local economic priorities, such as the pilot free trade zones (FTZs). By far, China has established 21 FTZs, which constitutes part of China’s efforts to transform into a more innovative, service, and consumption-driven economy and the creation of sustainable and high-end manufacturing capacity to attract international businesses.

FTZs in China as Updated in 2020 - New Zones and Expansion

However, investors are not suggested to make decisions solely based on preferential policies. Rather, there are multiple considerations that companies must grapple with when choosing a location, including but not limited to real estate, infrastructure, supplier and customer market, cost, operating environment, legal and regulatory environment, and human resources.

Below, we share some tips on location selection:

Establish search metrics

The most important factor in site selection is the specific needs of the enterprise, which can be refined into the enterprise’s business priorities and goals. Generally, businesses usually consider the below metrics during location selection:

  • Cost metrics – real estate (such as rental or purchasing cost or site and building amenities), utilities (water, gas, or power), labor costs (including social insurance);
  • Supply Chain – number of upstream and downstream enterprises, number of competitors;
  • Connectivity – major infrastructure, transportation options, ease of access to customers and suppliers;
  • Work force – availability of skilled workers, labor productivity;
  • Legal environment – industry permit or certifications, special requirements on targeted industries; and,
  • Incentives – tax, financial supports, visa.

Analyze your shortlist

Enterprises can conduct an in-depth analysis of their search findings, and chose the most suitable options based on the business priorities and goals set at the beginning.

At this stage, some quantitative tools, such as a table to weigh all the metrics based on the significance, can be really helpful when the decision maker is flooded by the data gathered and has difficulty to make any evaluations. Enterprises are also advised to seek professional services for at least this step, to take advantage of the insight of independent advisors.

[tips title="Important Tip"]After collating information based on the search metrics, a business will likely get several potential options. The final step is to conduct a due diligence check on the shortlisted properties or preferred destination. This is particularly important for businesses entering a new region.[/tips]

For example, an industrial park might have wonderful promotion brochures for marketing, but the infrastructure or the facilities are nothing like those printed on paper. The property option might not have the proper landowner certifications. In worst-case scenarios, the incentives promised by the authority-in-charge might not be in compliance with the national policies.

Given these risks, a due diligence check in advance is not a simple procedural step, but serves as necessary and important measures to save investors from potential troubles.

Typical Location Search Service Process

Company holding structure

Does it make sense to use a holding company?

Many companies choose to establish holding companies, or “special purpose vehicles”, in jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong or Singapore, to hold their Chinese entity. Holding companies allow for an additional layer of distance between the Chinese subsidiary and parent company, and can “ring-fence” the investment to an extent, protecting it from the potential risks and liabilities of the Chinese subsidiary. In the case that an investor wishes to sell their Chinese business, or introduce a third-party partner/shareholder into the structure, the administrative changes can also be done at the holding company level, rather than at the China level, where the regulatory environment is tougher and procedures are more time-consuming.

Given the comparatively sophisticated banking systems of Hong Kong and Singapore, establishing a holding company in either jurisdiction is a popular option for foreign companies wishing to hold their China-earned profits offshore. In this way, the profits can be re-invested into China if the need arises, or used to further expand operations elsewhere in Asia. Subject to the parent country’s anti-avoidance tax rules, this method is often used as a tax deferral mechanism for foreign companies who do not want to remit their China profits immediately back to the home country. 

In addition, Hong Kong and Singapore holding companies present a number of tax advantages, including reduced withholding tax rates on the repatriation of profits and limiting tax exposure on capital gains.

Note that the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has significantly disrupted the ability of U.S. investors to open or maintain bank accounts through Hong Kong, threatening to cut off the cash flow to their mainland China subsidiaries. Although also a signatory to FATCA, Singapore appears to be less affected by these developments.

Key positions in a foreign invested entity

The key positions in a foreign invested entity vary by the investment structure and size, with some overlap.

ROs should designate a chief representative to sign documents on behalf of the company. In addition to a chief representative, an RO can also nominate three more general representatives.

For WFOEs and JVs, key positions include shareholders, an executive director (or board of directors), supervisor(s), general manager, and legal representative.

Shareholders and executive director (or board of directors)

For WFOEs, the board of shareholders represents the highest authority of the company, whose decisions regarding company operations are executed by the executive director or board of directors. For JVs established before January 1, 2020, i.e. the effective date of the FIL, the board of directors is the highest authority. But they will need to make relevant changes within the five- year transitional period. For JVs established after January 1, 2020, the board of shareholders will be the highest authority of the entity.

Supervisor(s)

WFOEs must have at least one supervisor to oversee the execution of company duties by the director(s) and senior management personnel. For JVs, this used not to be a mandatory obligation before the FIL enacted. However, starting from January 1, 2020, JVs are also required to have supervisors following the rules stipulated in the Company Law.

To ensure there are no conflicts of interest, a company’s director(s) and/or senior management personnel cannot concurrently serve as supervisors. Where a company has a relatively small number of shareholders and is small in scale, one or two supervisors will suffice. For larger companies, a board of supervisors composed of no less than three members is required.

General manager

Both WFOEs and JVs need a general manager who is responsible for day-to-day company operations. This position may be concurrently filled by the executive director or a member of the board of directors. For JVs, several deputy general managers can also be appointed; this group is collectively referred to as the management office. 

Chief financial officer

Chief financial officer (CFO), or financial employee in charge, is a key personnel of a company that has primary responsibility for managing the company’s finances, including financial planning, finance and accounting compliance, taxation, cash flow tracking, as well as financial reporting analysis.

CFO is senior management by nature and typically reports to the general manager of the company. This position may be concurrently filled by a member of the board of directors. CFO is of special importance in China during the company setup stage, where the CFO needs to go through real name authentication and be the contact person with the authority in charge

Legal representative

Every business established in China, foreign or domestic, is required to designate a legal representative, i.e. the person responsible for performing the duties and powers on behalf of a company. The legal representative is, by definition of their role, one of the most powerful people in a FIE. Yet this power comes with heavy responsibility, and if a single individual in a foreign invested entity is to be held accountable for company actions, that person is more likely than not the legal representative. For WFOEs and JVs established after January 1, 2020, the executive director, the chairman of the board of directors, or the general manager are all eligible to be legal representatives. Before that, only chairman of the board of directors can take the legal representative role of the JVs.

Powers and responsibilities of a legal representative

The Company Law does not clearly define the powers of a legal representative. However, it is clear that a legal representative is authorized to perform all acts regarding the general administration of a company according to the company’s aims and objectives. This may include:

  • Acting (legally) to conserve the company’s assets;
  • Executing powers of attorney on the company’s behalf;
  • Authorizing legal representation of and litigation by the company; and
  • Executing any legal transactions that are within the nature and scope of that company’s

The new foreign investment law's impact on key positions in FIEs

Considering that WFOEs are generally limited liability companies, which are basically in line with the Company Law, the new FIL has a limited impact on key positions in WFOE. For existing FIEs in the form of a CJV or EJV, they need to change their governing structure within the five-year transitional period to the three-tier structure (the board of shareholders, the board of directors, and the general manager), in accordance with the Company Law. Below, we take EJV as an example.

New FIL’s Impact on Key Positions in EJV

Items

Under the EJV Law

Under the new FIL

Highest authority

Board of directors

Board of shareholders or the general meeting of shareholders

Board of shareholders

No board of shareholders

The following matters must be be reviewed and approved by shareholders holding two-thirds or more of the voting rights on the shareholders’ meeting:

  • Amendment to the article of associations;
  • Increase or reduction of registered capital; and
  • Company merger, division, dissolution, or change of company structure.

Board of directors

  • The board of directors shall comprise no less than three members;
  • Directors shall be appointed and removed by EJV parties;
  • Where a Chinese national takes the position of chairman, the position of the deputy chairman shall be held by the foreign party, or vice versa; and
  • The tenure of a director shall be four years.
  • Company can choose to appoint an executive director instead of establishing a board of directors;
  • The board of directors shall comprise three to 13 members for limited liability companies, or five to 19 members for joint-stock companies;
  • Directors who are not employee representatives shall be elected and replaced by the board of shareholders/shareholder; and
  • The tenure of a director shall not exceed three years.

Supervisor

Board of supervisors/supervisor is not obligatorily required

  • Board of supervisors should comprise no less than three members;
  • Limited liability companies with fewer shareholders may appoint one to two supervisors instead of establishing a board of supervisors;
  • The tenure of supervisor is three years; and
  • Directors and senior management personnel shall not hold the post of supervisor concurrently.

Legal representative

Chairman

Chairman, executive director, or general manager

Senior management personnel

Where Chinese party takes the position of general manager, the position of the vice-general manager shall be held by the foreign party, and vice versa

No limitation

How to open a bank account in China

Once obtaining a business license in China, the newly established FIE must choose a specific bank to open the bank account, without which the entity will not be able to carry out its daily operation.

What type of bank accounts do I need in China?

When opening an Foreign-Invested Enterprise in China, there will be a need to establish at minimum two bank accounts:

  • RMB Basic Account and
  • Foreign Currency Capital Contribution Account.

RMB basic account

An FIE must have one (and only one) RMB basic account for daily business operations in China*. This account is the only account from which the company can withdraw RMB cash. The RMB basic account often acts as a designated account for making tax payments.

*China is piloting to remove the RMB basic account requirement in Lingang arear, Shanghai FTZ.

Foreign currency capital contribution account

An FIE must also have a foreign currency capital contribution account to receive capital injections from the foreign investor. Approval to open this account can be obtained from the SAFE.

Additional general RMB accounts and other types of foreign currency accounts can be opened for different purposes. For foreign currency accounts, these may include a settlement account for the collection of current items in a foreign currency, foreign debt special accounts, and temporary capital accounts.

International and Chinese banking institutions

Foreign investors can establish the above accounts in China through international banks with a local presence, or through a local Chinese banking institution.

Common international banks in China

  • Bank of East Asia,
  • Citibank,
  • DBS Bank,
  • Hang Seng Bank,
  • HSBC and
  • Standard Chartered;

Larger Chinese banking institutions

  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China,
  • Bank of China,
  • China Construction Bank,
  • Agricultural Bank of China, and
  • Bank of Communications.

Which to choose?

Foreign investors in China often prefer to establish an account with an international bank because of an existing business relationship. However, establishing accounts with a Chinese bank has a number of advantages, namely:

  • The application process for opening a bank account with an international bank in China will be more document-intensive and take longer compared to opening such an account at a Chinese bank;
  • There are substantially more Chinese commercial banks than foreign bank branches, which allows for more convenient and faster RMB remittance;
  • Most Chinese companies have local bank accounts - conducting transactions with them will be easier and faster if done from a Chinese bank instead of an international bank; and
  • Bank account

Practical tips about banking authorizations

When opening a bank account in China, an FIE will need to specify what will act as the “signature” of the company. Usually the company’s financial chop (seal) is required to do so, along with either the legal representative’s chop (or chief representative’s chop for an RO) and a handwritten signature. Banks generally prefer using the legal representative’s chop instead of a handwritten signature, as the latter is easier to forge and harder to verify.

[tips title="Did You Know"]Many bank transactions can now be done online in English, including the approval of transactions and viewing account balances from abroad. It is possible and sometimes necessary to make tax payments online in in many cities by signing a three-party agreement with an authorized Chinese bank.[/tips]

For an entity’s RMB basic account, it is possible to apply for different levels of e-banking access and multiple security keys (in the form of a key-ring/USB dongle) – one with access rights and another with approval rights. Another common security measure is a device that generates a new password for every check that is written.

Requirements for opening a bank account in China

Foreign investors may get the feeling that opening a bank account is not a straightforward process, and indeed this is sometimes the case. This occurs partly because banks in China are subject to high scrutiny from the People’s Bank of China ("PBOC"), resulting in the emphasis now given to the KYC (know your client) policy.

Under PBOC direction since April 2020, Chinese banks have also become stricter about opening bank accounts, especially for newly established companies – both for domestic companies and foreign invested companies.

For banks to validate the “real business” of the applicant company, banks must now perform an on-site visit procedure. This procedure includes a bank officer visiting the physical location (the office) of the applicants to verify that they have a physical location and staff. The photo of the location with the company nameplate and a business license will be taken for the bank’s internal compliance purposes.

Based on this situation, the bank will require the individual who has submitted their passport as verification documentation on behalf of the company (the legal representative, that is) to be present at the time of the account opening

Latest COVID-19 requirements

Considering the travel ban due to COVID-19, many companies and foreign individuals confronted the burden of being present in the bank to open any kind of bank account necessary for their business to be operational.

To facilitate foreign investment, some banks are advancing and improving their compliance and control policies while also complying with the official requirements established by the government. For example, some of the bank branches will allow the specific information to be provided in the scripted video made by the individual who is affected by the travel ban. This video is then validated through the bank controlling department. After the video is accepted by the compliance team, the “physical office” location visit is performed.

This policy is subject to circumstances and to changes at any time. Investors are suggested to consult with a professional services firm or representative for the most current information and options for the institutions and region that they intend to open an account in.

Intellectual property protection in China

Many FIEs in China have graduated from a manufacturing focus to a model where their real business value is now bound up in their intellectual property. Unfortunately, intellectual property rights (IPR) violations continue to pose a problem in the country, including via the infringement of copyrights, trademarks, patents, and designs.

These types of IPR must be registered with the appropriate Chinese agencies and authorities to be enforceable in China. To protect their IPR, most FIEs adopt measures to proactively search the internet for violations, in addition to sending staff to corporate functions and trade fairs. Companies can also apply to Chinese customs to have them monitor their trademarks and contact them if any violation is discovered.

IP registration in China

In China, IP is defined as a proprietary right enjoyed by a holder with respect to their works, inventions, trademarks, geographical indications, trade secrets, layout design of integrated circuits, new varieties of plants, etc. Among others, copyrights on works, patent rights on inventions, utility models, and designs, and trademark rights, are the most common IP rights.

[video file='https://cdn.jwplayer.com/videos/XZGumpqf-sZcHHUE7.mp4' image='https://resource.dezshira.com/resize/900x506/Misc/banners/web_2.jpg' title='Managing IP Protection When Manufacturing in China']

China follows the principle of territoriality in IP protection, meaning IP rights acquired under the laws of a country can only be valid and protected within the territory of that country unless an international convention or bilateral or multilateral agreement is in place. What that means is that enjoying IP rights in your home country will not secure your IP rights in China.  A domestic IP registration/filing in China is necessary to effectively protect your IP in the country. Besides, China mainly applies a “first-to-file” rule for IP registration, which means that the first entity or individual who registers IP rights will hold those rights exclusively, irrelevant of the original user, with limited exceptions. Thus, the first and foremost strategy we can provide is to register/file your IP rights in China as early as possible. We summarize the registration matters for patent, copyright, and trademark in the tables below.

Patent Registration

Patent Registration

Necessity

Patent is valid and protected in China only after proper registration

Requirement

  • Inventions and utility models for which patent rights are granted shall possess novelty, creativity and practicality.
  • A design for which patent rights are granted shall not fall under the existing designs.
  • Overseas individual or entity must engage a qualified agent to handle the registration.

Authority in charge in charge

Patent Office of China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA)

Procedure

Invention patent: Preliminarily search and analyze the application availability -> Prepare documents and submit filing -> Application acceptance -> Application fee payment -> Application classification -> Preliminary examination and verification ->Supplement of docs per requirement (if any) -> Application for substantial examination -> Substantial examination (+ OA, if any) -> Patent right grant -> Handling Patent registration formalities and submit registration fees -> Issuance of Patent certificate

 

Utility model: Preliminarily search and analyze the application availability -> Prepare documents and submit filing -> Application acceptance -> Application fee payment -> Application classification -> Preliminary examination and verification -> Supplement of docs per requirement or Patent right grant -> Handling Patent registration formalities and submit registration fees -> Issuance of Patent certificate

 

Design: Preliminarily search and analyze the application availability -> Prepare documents and submit filing -> Application acceptance -> Application fee payment -> Application classification -> Preliminary examination and verification -> Supplement of docs per requirement or Patent right grant -> Handling Patent registration formalities and submit registration fees -> Issuance of Patent certificate

Timeline

Invention: 2-3 years, for high value patent, could have chance to shorten to 1.25 years

Utility model: 6-9 months

Design: 6-9 months

Validity*

Invention: 20 years

Utility model: 10 years

Design: 15 years

* Calculated from application date.

Copyright Registration

Copyright Registration

Necessity

Although copyright can be automatically gained upon creation and protected in China according to the international convention or agreements China signed, market participants who ever got their copyright registered can better defend against any infringement as the official certificate would at least save time and cost for proving the ownership. Besides, for software copyright, the registration certificate is required in software copyright transactions.

Requirement

  • The work to be registered should be original intellectual achievements in the fields of literature, art and science which can be expressed in a certain form.
  • Anyone who has registration needs could apply for registration. Overseas individual or entity can submit application directly, but to engage a qualified agent is suggested as Chinese documents and support is inevitable.

Authority in charge

National Copyright Administration and its local branches

Procedure

Documentation preparation -> Application submitting -> Acceptance of application documentation -> Fee payment -> Preliminary and substantive review -> Issuance of registration certificate and publish on website (different type of copyright registration may differ a little bit)

Timeline*

1.5-3 months

Validity

Indefinite period: Right of authorship, right of revision, right to preserve the integrity of work of an author shall not be subject to restriction.

Entire life span of the author and 50 years following his/her death: Individual author’s rights of publication, reproduction, distribution, rental, exhibition, performance, screening, broadcasting, information network transmission, filming, adaption, translation, compilation.

 

50 years following the first publication of the work: Rights of publication, reproduction, distribution, rental, exhibition, performance, screening, broadcasting, information network transmission, filming, adaption, translation, compilation of works of a legal person or any other organization and works created in the course of employment in which copyright (except for right of authorship) belongs to a legal person or any other organization. (if there’s no publication within 50 years from completion of the creation of the work, it shall not be protected by this Law.)

 

50 years following the first publication of the work: Rights of publication, reproduction, distribution, rental, exhibition, performance, screening, broadcasting, information network transmission, filming, adaption, translation, compilation of film works, works created using methods similar to film making and photographic works. (If there’s no publication within 50 years from completion of the creation of the work, it shall not be protected by this Law.)

*Different type of copyright registration may differ a little bit.

Trademark registration in China

Trademark Registration

Necessity

Trademark registrants enjoy exclusive rights to use trademark and are protected by the law. Due to the “first-to-file” principle in China, trademark registration should be made as early as possible.

Requirement

  • A trademark to be registered shall possess distinctive characteristics to facilitate identification, and shall not conflict with prior legitimate rights obtained by others.
  • Overseas individual or entity must engage a qualified agent to handle the registration.

Authority in charge

Trademark Office of CNIPA

Procedure

Registration availability pre-checking -> Documentation preparation -> Application submitting -> Preliminary review on documentation and issuance of acceptance notice (only indicate the documentations are complied with the basic requirements) -> Substantive review on registration availability -> Preliminary approval and announcement notice (3 months for others to raise opposition, if any) -> Final approval and registration announcement -> Issuance of registration certificate

Timeline*

10-13 months

Validity

10 years

*Calculated from registration date

Set up a thorough internal IP protection system

IP protection is a long-term project that the China market participants must always pay attention to.

Besides registration, businesses are also suggested to establish a thorough internal IP protection system, to adopt preventive measures to protect IP, and to confront IP infringements in business operations. This system can be set up with the help of external third-party professional services, especially for businesses that are new to China and have limited knowledge of China’s trademark protection situation. Among others, the below strategies serve as good starting points:

  • Provide training for all employees (especially those who have access to key IP information) to ensure their actions do not compromise the organization’s IP protection.
  • Control and monitor employee’s access to key equipment and areas and limit the likelihood that any one employee has access to all the information needed to copy IP.
  • Incorporate IP protection to facility design and business’s daily operational processes.
  • Utilize technologies to track and protect IP.
  • Be careful with business partners and include proper IP protection clauses in all contracts and agreements.
  • Assign a specific team or personnel to focus on IP management, including integrating the IP related data and tracking the status of the IP protection.
  • Actively monitor for infringement at industry trade shows and trade fairs, through IP publications, and on Internet.
  • Monitor competitor’s IP status to see if there is any chance to take proactive defending actions.
  • Assess the registration necessity in any country/region and get the registration started as early as possible.
  • Take actions to fight against any infringement by competitors and/or any other participants of the target market.

Make good use of the current IP protection measures implemented by China

China has been making substantial efforts to improve the IP protection offered in the country. Besides launching a lawsuit, a more time and cost efficient way might be to report to the competent authority directly, which can help IP rights holders achieve the following:

  • Force the infringer to stop infringing immediately
  • Confiscate illegal gains of infringer.
  • Impose penalty on infringer.
  • Require the infringer to compensate the right owner as per asked by the owner.

Filing your IP rights with China customs

For businesses engaging in import-export, they are suggested to file their patent, copyright, or trademark, with the customs authorities. This is necessary because:

  • It is a prerequisite for the customs to take active IP protection measures.
  • It helps customs to find infringing goods.
  • It can have a deterrent effect on the infringer.

To file with customs, applicants shall either be the IP owner (for trademark and patent, its IP registration shall be done with the competent authority of China and for copyright, its country of origin should be a member of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works) or a qualified agent in China. The IP customs filing takes around 1.5 months and the general procedure is as follows:

  • Documentation preparation
  • Application submitting
  • Review of application
  • Fee payment
  • Filing successful

 

[faq title="FAQ: How to Negotiate Favorable Lease Terms for Your China Business" ui="accordion"]

Is it possible to change the rent due to changed circumstances? For example, what if the Lessee requests lower rent than the one agreed in the Lease agreement due to the outburst of Covid-19?

Firstly, there is no statutory requirement that the lessor/landlord should adjust the rent due to covid. During the initial outbreak, some local governments did promulgate notices that encouraged the lessor to lower the rate - but at best it was a suggestion, not mandated. Secondly, We are now in year three of the pandemic and its current impact on the company operation results mostly from occasional lockdowns, i.e. it normally doesn’t pose a constant threat. To recap, any adjustments to the rent will only be made via mutual agreement between both parties. At least for now we think that covid is not a strong reason for lessees to require a lower rate.

If your goal is to lower the rent cost, you could consider the following options:

  • Reduce the size of leased premise by negotiating with the landlord, e.g. reduce the original two units you rented to one, and amend the lease accordingly.
  • Relocate to smaller and cheaper sites.

Or in extreme occasions, if the company needs to shut down temporarily: the Implementing Rules for the Administrative Regulation of the People's Republic of China on the Registration of Market Entities(中华人民共和国市场主体登记管理条例实施细则)indicates that companies with operational difficulties can apply for a “state of business suspension”. Once approved, the company can retain a delivery address for legal documents only, and do not need to stay in a lease, or enter a new lease after terminating the current one, just to keep the registered address, thus saving the cost.

Is it recommended to engage an agent to handle the lease agreement related issues?

Though it depends on the budget and usual practice of the company, for foreign invested companies, particularly those intending to rent a large office, it is beneficial to appoint a professional agent. A high-quality agent could save your communication cost, provide options for appropriate sites and good landlords, and help to mediate and bargain in a neutral manner.

How to prepare for negotiations with the landlord?

Negotiation is the art of compromise. The technique to do it, is to do it STEP BY STEP: list all the questions and all the requests you can possibly think of and go through them one by one.

To give you an example, after reviewing a lease, you may request a free exit - meaning that you can terminate the lease early without giving up the deposit.

What needs to be done for the landlord to deem this acceptable? One way to do it, is to propose a bunch of requests and blend the request for free exit within. For instance, you could ask for a 10% discount, an extension for the payment period, payment at sight of fapiao, exemption of water & electricity deposit, no hard requirement for restoration upon termination, etc. When the landlord faces so many requests at once, the request for a mere free exit might not seems over the line. 

How to legally terminate the contract if the landlord fails to fulfill his contractual obligations?

First, if it is stipulated in the lease that the tenant can unilaterally terminate the contract if the landlord does not perform its obligations, the tenant can unilaterally terminate the contract per such provision.

Second, if the lease agreement does not specifically stipulate in what situation the tenant may terminate the agreement, the tenant may still terminate the agreement PROVIDED the landlord fails to fulfill the core obligations of the agreement, also known as “material breach”, meaning that its failure will definitely cause the tenant to be unable to use the unit in a normal manner. In such cases, the tenant could initiate a negotiation with the landlord to reach a settlement. If no settlement is reached, the tenant may take legal action (e.g. arbitration or litigation) for a solution.

[/faq]

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