How to protect your rental rights in Seoul

Why do I need to declare when I’m moving in? Can the rental contract in South Korea be renewed automatically? What should I do if I want to rent for 3 months after my contract expires?

If you don’t understand South Korea’s housing system and laws and have no relevant experience in the apartments in Seoul, renting issues and disputes might give you a headache. The South Korean government has implemented the “House Rental Protection Act” to protect renters. This law has a lot in favor of the lessee provisions, if properly used, it can help non-locals to avoid a lot of unnecessary issues. In this article, ZIPTOSS will introduce you to the Right of balance, Equal priority for repayment, Lease Right Registration, and Default renewal.

1 Counterbalance

By balance, meaning that the third party has the right to maintain the lease contract. In South Korea, rooms have been rented within the duration of the homeowner’s changes without any compensation, making the lease out of people’s problems. In this situation, the “Housing Lease Protection Act ” can be used to protect the rights of tenants.

The counterbalance refers to the third party, that is, the tenant of the leased house, other than the successor of the lease right, and the person who has an interest in the best apartments in Seoul, has the right to use the content of the lease contract Legal protection.

Even if the lease contract is not registered, the counterbalance will automatically take effect the day after the tenant completes the ownership transfer of the house, and the resident registration.

Housing transfer

-To ensure the counterbalance, from the “Housing Lease Protection Act“, the house transfer must be completed.

Housing transfer means that the actual ownership of the house should be transferred from the lessor to the lessee. The tenant can complete the move-in process and start using the house as his address. 

Resident registration & move-in notice. The lessee must complete the resident registration, to make use of the ” Realtor Protection Act ” right. The completion of the move-in declaration can be regarded as the completion of the resident’s registration. Residency declaration refers to the act of notifying the mayor, county, or district chief when the tenants move to their place of residence. The ones who are obliged to report, especially the head of the household, must make a report within 14 days after moving into their new residence.

Effective period of counterbalance

-Once the rental housing transfer is completed after the resident registration, this is where the lease of the third person counterbalance comes in. The completion of the move-in process and declaration can be counted as the completion of the resident’s registration for ownership. The counterbalance will start to take effect the day after the resident completes the registration process.

For example, on December 1, 2011, Hong Gildong paid a 100 million won security deposit for the rented house, but he completed the registration process on December 15, 2011. Therefore, the counterbalance will start at 0:00 on December 16, 2011.

2 Preferential Repayment Right

The concept and conditions of equal priority

-Equal priority for reimbursement means having the right to repay the security deposit in exchange for the loan of the leased house/apartment when the leased house is auctioned or publicly auctioned.

-The lessor will obtain the same priority for compensation if the counterbalance is complete and if the lease contract has a legal certification date.

How to obtain legal certification date.

The legal certification date refers to the date on which the house lease contract is legally signed. The legal certification date system aims to prevent private negotiations between the tenant and the homeowner. The change in the amount of the security deposit and signing a house lease contract on a false date might end up having more than one tenant owning the house for some time.

-Resident centers such as town or village offices of the residence,  cities (especially cities and municipalities under the Central Government or special cities, including special provinces), county and district offices, district courts have registration offices or notary offices. Under the “Notary Public Law, these places can grant a legal certification date of your residency.

-The date certification issued by the notary offices will require the following documents:

√Certification date number

√Acknowledgment date

√Personal information of landlord and tenant

*For locals: name, address, resident registration number (For non-locals, their resident ID number can be used).

*For residents who have migrated for work, you’ll need to give your legal name, organization/company name, registration number, real estate registration number, and head office

√ House location

√The object of the lease contract 

√Lease period

√Rent Security Deposit 

√ The first 6 digits of the applicant’s name and ID number (For a foreigner, the first 6 digits of the foreigner’s resident ID number)  to process the legal certification date of your residency

-For the homeowner to obtain the same priority, they should bring the original and copy of the house lease contract to the county, city, or township office where the house is located. Except for special provinces, local courts and their support and registration offices, or notary offices can apply for confirmation.

*If an online information processing system is used to complete a house lease contract for rooms for rent in Seoul, South Korea, the renter of the house can apply for the legal certification date of the online contract through the information processing system. Effective date and equal priority of repayment are given when the renter completes the house transfer and declaration of moving in on the day, or when there is a legal certification date provided. The equal priority of reimbursement will start at 0:00 am the next day once the completion of house transfer and declaration is completed.

3 The effect of Leasehold Registration Orders

Since the Housing Lease Protection Act is effective as soon as the house is transferred, and the move-in declaration is completed, once the lease contract expires and if the homeowner did not receive a refundable security deposit, then it’s required that they move out of the house right away. Under these circumstances, the previous counterbalance and equal priority reimbursement will be automatically invalid, making the refund of the security deposit more difficult.

According to the court’s order, the resolution to this problem is that the homeowner can retain the same reimbursement and have the right to decide freely to make the tenants move out of the house even if the lease contract expires. 

Maintaining the counterbalance and equal priority reimbursement

-If the homeowner has obtained the counterbalance or equal priority of reimbursement before the lease registration order while the counterbalance or equal priority of repayment is being maintained, the acquisition of the lease registration will not lose these conditions.

 -Therefore, even if the tenant moves after the registration of the lease right, they still have the counterbalance and the equal priority reimbursement of the house they previously lived in, they can also receive priority in the refund of the security deposit.

– If the tenant did not get the lease before the registration, then after the completion of the registration lease, the tenant will have to repay the balance and the equal priority reimbursement to the homeowner.

-If the registration of the lease is completed, it is difficult to determine whether to obtain the right of balance and equal priority repayment based on the time of registration. Therefore, before the registration of the lease right, if the leased house has a mortgage and other guarantees, it will be excluded. In the auction procedure of mortgage rights, it is impossible to claim the counterbalance of the buyer with the right to sell. It does not include the highest priority right of reimbursement of small deposits.

– After the end of the lease registration, the tenant cannot get the priority reimbursement in a small margin. This is to prevent the implementation of the highest priority reimbursement of the small deposit after the registration of the renewal of the lease, this may cause issues with the homeowner, who has completed the registration right of the lease.

4  Implied Renewal(묵시적갱신)

If there is no notice of refusal to renew or change the contract terms In the period from six months to one month before the end of the lease contract from the tenant. This might result in completely ending the tenant’s contract. If the tenant issues a notice of refusal to renew or change the terms of the contract, then the lease contract will not be renewed by default.

*Notice of Change in the contract means that certain lease contract terms are changed after the contract expires, and if the other party does not respond, their contract will no longer be renewed.

The tenant needs to specify the changed part. If the renter is overdue to pay the rent more than two times or violates the obligation that the renter should abide by, then there cannot be a renewal of the contract. So, tenants will not be granted the right to renew the contract, their current lease will be automatically terminated at the end of the contract. If the contract is requested to be renewed by default, it will be with the same terms as their previous lease contract.

If the contract is renewed by default, it will be renewed at the same monthly rent and deposit as in the previous lease contract. The term of the lease contract will become two years if they wish to renew it. The cancellation of a renewed default contract can be terminated by the landlord at any time and can request a two-year lease. If the tenant requests the termination of the lease, this process will take about three months after the homeowner receives the notice from the tenant.

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