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Sep 02, 2007 News: New Guidlines Put Shanghai's Gay Couples at Risc
By Danny Sonnenschein

(China) - Gay couples living together in Shanghai are facing homelessness because of new rules introduced by Shanghai’s housing bureau. The authorities have ordered landlords to abstain from offering "group rents" to unmarried couples, insisting that rooms should be given only to singles and heterosexual families. In what appears a pooly realized attempt to reduce dwelling density, landlords are also encouraged to cease renting out individual beds and sub-dividing rooms, ordering that the total floor space should be not less than 5 m2 per person. Joint dwelling and the illegal partitioning of rooms are widespread in Shanghai, whith rents becoming increasingly unaffordable for many of the population.

Migrant workers, college graduates and young employees often lack money to rent an appartment for themselves and resort in sharing rooms and apartments with other people to reduce their spendings.

The new guidlines have sparked outrage among many residents in Shanghai. People’s Daily Online quoted two citizens complaining about the ignorance of authorities:

"No one wants to live in a cramped room with people they don't know, but it's too expensive for most people to buy a house or even rent one in Shanghai. Policymakers seldom care about poor people's living conditions."

"How can we survive with low incomes but high rents? It's hard enough even without the new restrictions, and the bureau should see that most people are against them."

Though the new guidelines apparently were intended to increase dwelling conditions, the effect to people who do not meet the bureaucratic “ideal” are facing eviction and homelessness. Gay couples are among those most affected.

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