Useful answers to questions about property transactions and estate agents’ services frequently asked by consumers.
However, you may ask the estate agent to provide you with general property information or information related to the transaction. According to paragraph 3.4.1 of the Code of Ethics issued by the EAA, estate agents should protect and promote the interests of their clients, carry out the instructions of their clients in accordance with the estate agency agreement and act in an impartial and just manner to all parties involved in the transaction.
Transactions of non-residential properties may involve complicated legal issues. The EAA advises you to seek legal advice if you encounter any difficulties or if there is anything unclear.
Whether a practitioner has a duty to inform you that the property is a partitioned property depends on the relevant circumstances of the case. For instance, if the property has already been partitioned and information including the ownership and sub-deed has been registered with the Land Registry, the practitioner is generally not obliged to reveal whether the property involved is a partitioned one.
However, if the partitioning of the unit has not yet been completed, the estate agent should remind you of the risks of purchasing such a property: for example, whether the partition is lawful, or in breach of the Buildings Ordinance, the Fire Safety (Commercial Premises) Ordinance, conditions of Government lease or the terms of the deed of mutual covenant. If the land search record of the property shows that it has subsisting encumbrances, such as outstanding management fees, the agent should draw your attention to such matters and advise you to consult a lawyer. The agent should also remind you of the rights and obligations of the owners under a sub-deed and suggest you seek legal advice before buying the property.
Video of the EAA’s online seminar on “Be vigilant to the risks before purchasing off-plan properties outside Hong Kong” (in Cantonese only)