As you may know, the tenancy control regime for subdivided units (“SDU”) under Part IVA of the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance (“Ordinance”) has come into effect on 22 January 2022. Not only tenants and landlords should be aware of their rights and obligations under this Ordinance, estate agents handling such tenancies also have an important role to play.
On this, the EAA has issued a practice circular regulating the practices of licensed estate agents when dealing with SDU tenancies. Here, I would like to share some important elements of the practice circular.
Generally speaking, estate agents ought to make sure that clients are fully informed of their capacity in the transaction, namely whether they act for the tenants and/or landlords; the security of tenure and rent regulation; and all implied mandatory terms under the Ordinance. They are also required to remind their clients of the relevant offences and the apportionment of utility and service charges as stipulated. For estate agents who are acting for landlords, they should also arrange for the stamping of the tenancy agreement and submission of the Notice of Tenancy (Form AR2).
The EAA has summarised the responsibilities of licensed estate agents in handling SDU tenancies in a promotional leaflet which is available at the EAA’s website and the Home Affairs Enquiry Centres in various districts. Not only licensees but also members of the public may refer to the leaflet here for a comprehensive understanding of the estate agents’ scope of work, especially for those tenants and landlords who intend to appoint a licensed estate agent to represent themselves in such tenancies, in order to make informed decisions and better protect their own interests.
In addition, if tenants and landlords have enquiries about the Ordinance, they can refer to the website of the Rating and Valuation Department (“RVD”) (www.rvd.gov.hk), call the RVD’s hotline at 2150 8303 or consider seeking legal advice.
Chief Executive Officer
Estate Agents Authority