Simon Says: Is property management company liable if your car is stolen?
This is the twenty-fourth in a weekly series of legal advice provided in a short and entertaining story format.
Keywords: Property Management Office, Duty of Care, Property in Custody, Liability of Loss
Is property management company liable if your car is stolen?
Jack parked his Mercedes in the garage underneath his block and it was a monthly leased car parking lot. One day, before he went out drinking, he locked his car properly, but when he came back, it went missing.
Jack thought that he might have misplaced his car, so he immediately went to the security guard, who said he did see Jack come home in his car, and advised him to check the footage of the CCTV. After meeting up with the property management office, Jack was devastated to know that the CCTV had broken down for half a year already, and there was no way to see who stole his car. His Mercedes simply vanished!
After reporting the case to the cops, they couldn’t help track the thief down as well because the night shift guard had fallen asleep whilst on duty. What can Jack do besides claiming his insurance? In fact, he had a third party liabilities insurance only and no property all risks insurance was maintained as he car was three years old.
Property Management Office insisted that the monthly rental of 250 Yuan and the claim of loss of half a million was unreasonable and refused to compensate Jack.
Prof Simon Says:
Monthly rental of a car parking space is a monthly parking contract between Jack and property management office. Safe keeping of cars is the paramount duty of the property management office while they are in its custody. There is a duty of care imposed to property management office under Chinese law.
Failure in maintaining a functional CCTV and failure in keeping proper records of the ins-and-outs of the cars amount a breach of term of the parking contract. This car theft is mostly the property management’s responsibility, so they have to pay for Jack’s lost car. The rental paid and the amount of compensation need not be in proportion.
Jack has already reported the case to the cops in time, which means he has already completed the burden of proof.
Therefore, Jack should receive a full compensation of his vehicle from property management company.
For more about this or to contact Professor Simon Choi at www.acmeardent.com, email@example.com, +86 13823677853 or by WeChat: simonhkchoi.
"This article was originally written in Chinese by Mr Huanyu Li and rewritten into English by 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or +86 13823677853.