In my previous article, I mentioned a new Practice Circular No. 18-02(CR) issued by the Estate Agents Authority (“EAA”), which provides more comprehensive guidelines for our licensees when issuing property advertisements. This Practice Circular took effect on 1 December 2018. In addition to the requirement of stating a “Property number” and an “Advertisement Date” in the advertisement, the Practice Circular also requires estate agents to obtain written consent from the property vendors/landlords before they issue any advertisement for the landlords’/vendors’ properties. The aforesaid requirements are applicable to all types of properties, regardless of whether they are residential or non-residential properties etc.
After the Practice Circular became effective, we produced an e-leaflet for estate agents to explain to the vendors/landlords about the requirement of obtaining their clients’ written consent before issuing property advertisements for them. With regard to residential properties, such consent can be obtained when the estate agent enters into a prescribed agency agreement for sale or leasing of residential properties in Hong Kong (i.e. Form 3 or Form 5) with the vendor/landlord. Under clause 8(a) of the Form 3/Form 5, the vendors/landlords may authorise their appointed estate agent to issue advertisements for their properties. As for other properties, estate agents may adopt similar wordings used in clause 8(a) of Form 3/Form 5 for obtaining the vendors’/landlords’ consent. Without such written consent, estate agents are not allowed to issue any advertisement in respect of the vendors’/landlords’ properties.
I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to vendors/landlords to co-operate with their appointed estate agents by giving them their written consent when appointing them to issue advertisements for their properties. This will increase the level of authenticity of property advertisements in the market.
The EAA always recommends vendors/landlords of residential properties to enter into a prescribed estate agency agreement (i.e. Form 3 or Form 5) when appointing an estate agent so as to protect the interests of both parties. An estate agency agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities of the parties: such as the validity of the agreement, estate agent’s responsibilities (e.g. the arrangement of property inspection), disclosure of any pecuniary or other beneficial interests of the appointed agent or his/her specified relatives/nominee in relation to the property concerned, details of commission payment (e.g. payment schedule), period of appointment, etc. An estate agent shall, before a person enters into an estate agency agreement in relation to a residential property, explain to the person every term and condition set out in the agreement to ensure that the person is aware of his rights and obligations under the agreement. Hence, if you are in doubt about any term or condition in the estate agency agreement, you should, before signing, clarify with your estate agent and/or seek legal advice.
Chief Executive Officer
Estate Agents Authority