Real estate agents must comply with various requirements when placing advertisements for residential properties – including obtaining written consent from the vendor beforehand.
In addition, they must not issue any adverts containing misleading or false information. Otherwise, they may be subject to disciplinary action by the Estate Agents Authority.
An estate agency company appointed an employee to distribute leaflets with information about flats for sale in a housing estate.
A flatowner in the estate noticed that one of the photos in the leaflet showed the interior of his property.
As he had not appointed this estate agency to sell his property, he lodged a complaint with the authority. The estate agency company admitted the advertisement was actually intended to be used to promote the sale of another flat.
An employee had misused the photo and published it in the leaflet.
The estate agency company was in breach of the Estate Agents Practice (General Duties and Hong Kong Residential Properties) Regulation, which stipulates that a licensed estate agent shall not cause or permit to be issued an advertisement which includes any statement or particular that is false or misleading.
The EAA Disciplinary Committee conducted an inquiry hearing, resulting in the company being reprimanded and fined HK$5,000.