The Law Society of Hong Kong (“Law Society”) has recently intervened into the practice of a solicitors’ firm Messrs. Wong, Fung & Co. (“Firm”), as it has reason to suspect that a former clerk of the Firm had dishonestly misappropriated money belonging to the Firm’s clients.
In recent years, there is an increasing number of advertisements in mass and social media on the sale of properties situated outside Hong Kong. In this regard, I would like to remind all potential consumers to pay extra attention to all related information of the property and not to solely rely on the promotional materials provided by the developer or estate agents, especially when they are considering purchasing an uncompleted property situated outside Hong Kong (“UPOH”).
When selecting a flat to rent, many people may only focus on the amount of rent, location and size of the flat, overlooking some other important details. In order for the public to understand these important details relating to renting of residential properties, the Estate Agents Authority (“EAA”) has organised a Facebook live seminar (in Cantonese) on the dos and don’ts regarding renting of residential properties to be held at 3pm on 26 September 2020. All are welcome to watch the live seminar through visiting www.facebook.com/MetroFinance at the abovementioned time.
The EAA’s Estate Agents Community Service Proposal Competition (“the Competition”) was completed and the result was announced in June 2020. The Competition received a positive response from the estate agency trade as the proposed community services will enable estate agents to give back to their local communities.
The pandemic of COVID-19 has dealt a serious blow to the economy of Hong Kong and its property transactions. An unstable market situation and the decline in the number of transactions have also led to fluctuation of property prices. Prospective buyers should note that banks may tighten their mortgage approval criteria and they may not be able to obtain sufficient mortgage loans to complete their purchase due to a shrink in their property valuation.
The outbreak of COVID-19 in the community has brought adverse impact to the Hong Kong society and economy in multiple aspects. The Hong Kong property market and the estate agency industry are inevitably affected.
First of all, may I wish our readers all the best for the Year of the Rat. Stepping into the New Year, it is time for us to review the past and plan for the future. Here, I would like to share some of our findings with you.
In October, the Chief Executive announced revisions of the Mortgage Insurance Programme of HKMC Insurance Limited in the 2019 Policy Address. This led to a wide discussion in the community and rekindled some members of the public’s hope to own a property as mortgage financing is one of the most important concerns for many prospective purchasers.
To fully utilise every inch of space in a property, some people may carry out alteration and addition (“A&A”) works to their properties. However, purchasing or renting properties with A&A works may have potential risks or legal liabilities. It may also affect the property’s valuation or a purchaser’s application for mortgage loans.
In a recent media report, an estate agent took the cash deposit from the property purchaser for himself and did not pass the money to the vendor. The incident has tarnished the reputation of the estate agency trade and many trade representatives also shared the same view. Here I would like to remind property purchasers, particularly the inexperienced ones, to be vigilant when paying their deposits and avoid paying them in cash directly to any parties including estate agents or even the vendors. Instead, the deposits should be paid to a firm of solicitors as stakeholder until completion of the transaction.