Following is a question by the Hon Fred Li and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (October 13):
The property management companies of some private housing estates have included the expenses on telecommunications, medical and feeder services in the management fees for collection, thereby obligating all occupiers to share the expenses of the services irrespective of whether they have used them or not. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether the relevant legislation will be amended to stipulate that, when property developers put up flats for sale, they shall state in the sales brochures the service items covered by the management fees, so as to protect the interests of consumers?
The Consumer Council has recently suggested that the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong (REDA) should take steps to self-regulate its members by developing a code of best practice to cover, among other things, accuracy of representations in sales brochures and to consider instituting a scheme that would carry a deterrent effect. The Consumer Council has also requested that the relevant government bureau should facilitate REDA's initiatives in this respect and to monitor progress. We believe it is a step in the right direction under the self-regulatory regime set up by REDA concerning the provision of information in sales brochures of uncompleted residential properties.
REDA has set up the self-regulatory scheme since October 2001. Since then, the Administration has been monitoring the functioning of the scheme and checking sales brochures against the guidelines issued by REDA under the scheme. Omissions so identified have been duly rectified, and complaints about sales brochure information have been properly addressed.
At present, the guidelines issued by REDA do not require the provision in sales brochures of information on the scope of services that are covered by management fees. In response to the Consumer Council's report, REDA has issued a circular asking its member developers to state in sales brochures the payment terms and contract periods for any telecommunication services that will be covered by management fees if such information is available at the time of pre-sale. We hope that this initiative will achieve its intended objective. The Administration will in conjunction with REDA monitor the implementation of this initiative. If it does not work, we will consider other options in order to ensure compliance. We will work closely with REDA and the trade.
Ends/Wednesday, October 13, 2004