Never assume anything

2015-11

ESTATE AGENTS SHOULD provide accurate property information to clients and take reasonable steps to verify the related information.

Otherwise, they may be subject to disciplinary action by the Estate Agents Authority.

An estate agent arranged for a prospective purchaser to inspect Flat A on the 19th floor of a residential building and told her the floor area of the property was 715 square feet.

Then he arranged for this prospective purchaser to enter into a provisional agreement for sale and purchase with the property owner.

Later, the purchaser discovered from the internet that the floor area of the flat she bought was smaller than 715 sq feet.

It turned out that the agent inferred the floor area of the flat bought from the information records of other Flats A on different floors of the same building.

In fact, according to the information of the Rating and Valuation Department, the saleable area of Flat A involved is smaller than that of other Flats A on other floors.

The purchaser then lodged a complaint with the EAA.

The EAA disciplinary committee conducted an inquiry hearing and found that the estate agent should have obtained the area information of the property through the Property Information Online service of the RVD, and should have provided such information to the purchaser.

The agent should not have provided the floor area before taking reasonable steps to verify the related information.

The disciplinary committee was of the view that the agent had failed to comply with paragraph 3.5.1 of the Code of Ethics, which specifies that estate agents should exercise due care and due diligence in fulfilling their duties.

As a result, the estate agent was admonished.