I saw an apartment in a listing (I live in Taipei, Taiwan). The websites states that the contract has to be signed at the court.
Is this safe? Or smells like fraud?
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A court registered lease is a good way to make sure that all the terms of rent agreement are written out and binding on both parties. Just make sure you read all the terms and conditions and are made aware of the conditions by the landlord in advance. Usually, the cost of registration is borne half-half by landlord and tenant, if it is high cost. If the cost is low then it has to be borne by tenant.