As a major international financial centre in Asia, Hong Kong attaches great importance to combatting money laundering and terrorist financing to safeguard the integrity of our financial system. An effective anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regime is hence in place and effort from everyone including estate agents, property purchasers and vendors is required for its implementation.
In recent years, there has been a rising trend of people in Hong Kong purchasing properties situated outside Hong Kong. Compared to purchasing properties in Hong Kong, purchasing properties outside Hong Kong is more complicated, as regulatory regimes and taxation systems differ from one place to another. News about the issues arising from Hong Kong people purchasing uncompleted properties situated outside Hong Kong (“UPOH”) has also attracted a lot of public attention, and the Estate Agents Authority (“EAA”) has received a number of related complaints.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the enactment of the Estate Agents Ordinance and the establishment of the Estate Agents Authority (“EAA”), the EAA organised its first micro movie competition for post-secondary students in 2017. The competition was smoothly run, with results announced and awards presented during the EAA’s 20th Anniversary cocktail reception held last month.
Recently, there have been news reports on property transactions involving mortgagee sales, mentioning that the supply of mortgagee properties has increased. However, are mortgagee properties a real bargain? What devil’s details are there in these transactions that may be easily overlooked?
As the property investment market has heated up, in addition to traditional residential properties, more people have shifted their focus to non-residential properties in recent years…
In recent years, many people have chosen to rent instead of purchase a property. In order to rent their favourite units as soon as possible, prospective tenants may overlook some potential risks in their selection of properties. To strengthen the protection of consumers, I would like to remind prospective tenants of some important points to note in renting properties.
Due to the high number of non-local students coming to Hong Kong to study and the scarcity of hostel places at universities, some non-local students are unable to find accommodation in campuses and need to look for accommodation elsewhere. These young non-local students may not be familiar with the tenancy practice and also the services and duties of estate agents in Hong Kong, which might bring them difficulties in the process of renting a flat.
The EAA attaches great importance to enhancing the professional standard of estate agents and upholding the principle of equal opportunities in their practice. I therefore would like to remind both estate agents and landlords not to commit discriminatory acts when handling property transactions.
The EAA held a public seminar titled “Smart Tips on Mortgage Application” on 25 March 2017 and attracted a large audience of 460. It has been the fourth large-scale public seminar since we organised the first one in 2015. I am glad to know that the response from the public has been getting better and better. The audience has become more interested in our topics and more eager to ask questions.
In my last article I wrote about the importance of appointing a licensed estate agent and the qualities of estate agents (such as whether they have participated in the Continuing Professional Development Scheme) that a consumer should focus on. This time I would like to bring up another issue that many people ask about – the payment of commission to the estate agent.