Age is not just a number

2016-10

A prospective purchaser appointed an estate agent to buy a property, and arrangements were made to have him view the property twice.

During both inspections, the agent told the prospective purchaser that the age of the property was 15 years. The agent presented a copy of the land title search, pointing out a Deed of Mutual Covenant with Plan dating back 15 years.

The purchaser then signed a provisional agreement for sale and purchase for the property with the vendor, paying a deposit of HK$300,000.

But the purchaser subsequently discovered from the occupation permit of the property that it was 26 years old. He decided not to proceed, and forfeited the deposit he had paid to the vendor.

In this case, the agent did not exercise due care and diligence to verify the accuracy of the information regarding the age of the property.

He failed to comply with paragraph 3.5.1 of the Code of Ethics issued by the Estate Agents Authority, which states that estate agents and salespersons shall, in fulfilling their duties, exercise due care and due diligence.

The agent was reprimanded and had his license suspended for 14 days.