About Appointing Estate Agents

1. How can I know whether an estate agent has a valid licence?
You can verify whether an agent has a valid licence through the following means:

  • Check the Licence List on the EAA website. Searches can be made using the agent’s name or licence number.
  • Check the Licence Register at the EAA office, which allows the public to search for information of licensees.
2. Instead of appointing an estate agency, can I ask the caretaker of my building to sell my property on my behalf?
Under the Estate Agents Ordinance, anyone carrying out estate agency work in Hong Kong must have a valid estate agent’s or salesperson’s licence. It is an offence to carry out estate agency work without a licence or to employ an unlicensed person to do so.

Estate agency work has a wide definition in the law. Therefore, the EAA is of the view that you should not ask a caretaker who does not have an estate agent’s or salesperson’s licence to sell your property. Otherwise, the caretaker may be in breach of the law.

3. If my estate agent represents both the purchaser and vendor or the tenant and landlord, how can I, the purchaser or tenant, ensure that my interests are not compromised?
If the estate agent appointed by you represents the other party as well, the agent must make that clear in the estate agency agreement. If you do not want your agent to be a dual agent, you can make such a request when appointing the agent.

According to the Code of Ethics issued by the EAA, estate agents must serve their clients with honesty, fidelity and integrity, protect and promote the interests of their clients, and act in a fair and impartial manner to all parties involved in the transaction.

The EAA also suggests you read the Guide to Purchasing Second-hand Residential Properties or A Guide to Tenancy to learn more about the things you need to pay attention to when buying or renting a property.