Useful answers to questions about property transactions and estate agents’ services frequently asked by consumers.
However, whether or not a flat is “haunted” is not a piece of information which must be provided by estate agents under the Estate Agents Ordinance. Whether an estate agent has a duty to disclose to the buyer that the property he intends to buy was previously involved in a murder or is a “haunted flat” depends on the circumstances of the case. Generally speaking, if you have not made direct enquiries with your agent or if the agent does not know or could not have known that such things ever happened in the property, the agent has not breached the Code of Ethics. Therefore, the EAA would like to remind you that if you are concerned about whether the flat you intend to buy is “haunted”, you should ask the agent or the vendor through the agent.
There is no legal definition of a “haunted flat” and different persons may have different interpretations of it. Therefore, the EAA suggests you be specific in your enquiries. You should ask, for example, whether a suicide or homicide took place in the flat before, and not use vague terms, such as whether the flat is “haunted” or “cursed”.
As regards non-residential properties, the Practice Regulation has no provision as to whether estate agency practitioners should provide their clients with information about such properties or tell them if there are any unauthorised building works related to such properties.
However, the Code of Ethics issued by the EAA requires estate agents to serve their clients with honesty, fidelity and integrity. Hence, estate agents should try their best to answer the questions raised by their clients. If the agents do not know the answers, they should frankly admit it to their clients and advise them to seek professional advice from surveyors or lawyers.
Video of the EAA’s online seminar on “Be vigilant to the risks before purchasing off-plan properties outside Hong Kong” (in Cantonese only)