Simon Says: Can a Property Owner kick any sitting tenant out?

This is the eighteenth in a weekly series of legal advice provided in a short and entertaining story format.


Areas of Interest: Real Estate and Inheritance

Keywords: Property, Real Estate, and Inheritance



Can a Property Owner kick any sitting tenant out? 


Jack and Jill were an elderly couple living in a mansion in Shanghai. Jack, being diagnosed with prostate cancer, was not left with many days. As the couple had no son nor daughter, Jack decided to put his nephew’s name Alex in his will.


A year later, Jack peacefully passed away and Alex, who was in Los Angeles at that time, suddenly received a lawyer’s call, telling him that he had received an inheritance. Overjoyed, Alex flew to China immediately.


After checking with real estate agents, Alex was told that the mansion’s price was revealed – fifty million. Alex finally could get his Lamborghini and pay off the debts he lost from gambling.


‘Alright, I’m selling the place. Move out,’ Alex ordered his old widowed aunt.

‘I have no place to go, Alex. I’m 80 years old already. Please let me stay until I pass away. I love this place.’ Jill replied.

‘Well, tough luck. I am the new owner. I shall give you one week.’ Alex replied cold-bloodedly.

‘Please… I have no money, and I have taken care of your uncle for so many years. I deserve to live out the last of my years here.’ Jill sobbed.

‘Exactly. You don’t want to be not able to afford the lid of your coffin, do you? One week, and I want you to disappear.’ Alex chuckled.


Is what Alex doing lawful? 




Prof Simon Says:


No, it is immoral and not justified, and against the law in this case as well.


Before Jack passed away, Jill had been living rightfully in the house for many years. Jill has the right of residence to the mansion, and Alex has no right to take away Jill’s rights. What Alex is doing is immoral and not justified, as Jill will have no choice but to sleep on the streets, which will severely affect her quality of life.


Even if Alex goes to court, the court will allow Jill to stay in the house, even if Alex is the rightful owner of the mansion. The Chinese courts consider moral standards when judging cases as well, like an equity court in common law.


Simon Says - Episode 18: Can a Property Owner kick any sitting tenant out?



For more about this or to contact Professor Simon Choi at, +86 13823677853 or by WeChat: simonhkchoi. 


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"This article was originally written in Chinese by Mr Huanyu Li and rewritten into English by Simon Choi."


Simon Choi

About the Author: Professor Simon Choi

Prof Simon Choi, solicitor and linguist, is an international lawyer, qualified to practise law in England & Wales and in Hong Kong, China. Simon graduated from law schools of the Peking University, the University of London and the University of Hong Kong respectively, with an in-depth knowledge of Chinese laws and common laws and with more than 20 years experience in China practice and international trade, investment, finance, merger & acquisition. He is an adjunct professor of laws at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. Simon is the founding partner of Acme Ardent and can be reached at or +86 13823677853.

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28 Jun 2017

By Simon Choi

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