Luxury cage homes? 25 tenants squeeze into posh Beijing apartment

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 July, 2013, 12:28pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 July, 2013, 4:32pm

Luxury apartments in downtown Beijing are being split into tiny subdivisions as owners try to lure fresh university graduates struggling to make a living amid rising housing prices.

The decorated flats are subdivided and furnished with several bunk beds. In one two-room flat measuring 864 sq ft, 25 lodgers were sharing the space. Most were fresh graduates earning entry-level incomes, the Beijing Daily reported on Monday.

The apartment is part of a community on the booming eastern side of downtown, where flats are worth on average 5 million yuan (HK$6.3 million) and are rented out for about 8,000 yuan a month. But with 13 bunk beds, each at 800 yuan a month, the flat now fetched the owner more than 20,000 yuan every month.

The tenants are mostly single young men just out of university.

“Where else can I live? I only make less than 3,000 yuan a month, but the rent will be over 2,000 yuan if I share a small two-room apartment,” one tenant was quoted as saying.

In the apartment, clothes, book bags and computers covered beds, and rubbish and various cables were seen all over the floor, the report noted.

“Summertime is the worst - the room is always sultry and humid, the queue for the shower takes up to two hours, not to mention the room is filled with an odour all the time,” said another resident, adding that he had chosen to live there to be close to his office. 

The packed flat has also brought problems to the surrounding community. At maximum capacity, it poses a fire hazard, rubbish has increased, neighbours frequently complain and local public services are burdened. 

Nonetheless, such practices by owners are prevalent, said the newspaper, which also discovered a two-room apartment that had been divided into six or seven cages fully occupied with tenants.

In an effort to crack down on illegal subdivisions, Beijing police this year had issued a ban on unauthorised renovations. A police notification seen in the community has also urged the current tenants to move out and stop paying rent, the paper said. 

An official also said the police would enforce a compulsory clearance to all the remaining subdivided apartments by the end of October, the newspaper added.