Name of the game

2015-07

Estate agents must ascertain the correct name of the vendor in a property transaction, otherwise they may be subject to disciplinary action by the Estate Agents Authority.

An agent was entrusted by a developer with promoting a project involving small houses in the New Territories.

Some homes in the development had already been sold earlier, but these individual owners, in turn, authorised the same developer to resell and promote their units.

Later, the agent arranged for a provisional sale and purchase agreement on one of these units to be signed between a prospective buyer and the developer as the vendor.

However, the solicitor for the purchaser discovered that the vendor should be one of the individual owners instead of the developer. Confused by the identity of the vendor, the purchaser decided to cancel the transaction.

Upon investigation, the EAA found that the agent did not obtain proper documentary evidence from the developer that it was authorised by the owner to resell the unit.

The EAA Disciplinary Committee was of the view that the agent had failed to take proper steps to verify the identity of the owner of the property when preparing the provisional agreement for sale and purchase.

The agent was reprimanded for contravening the Estate Agents Practice (General Duties and Hong Kong Residential Properties) Regulation, which stipulates that a licensee shall take all practicable steps to ensure that the name of the vendor is correct.