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Inquiry Hearing Cases--A Selection II (Excerpts)

Agreement not submitted to vendor for signature

A licensee ran her estate agency practice independently. She was familiar with the owners of some shop units and much of her business was derived from procuring tenants for these shop units. However, this practitioner did not have sufficient professional knowledge and less regard for professional ethics, which resulted in disciplinary actions against her when she mishandled tenancy matters for her clients.

The incident in question started with a prospective tenant looking for a shop unit for retail business in the short term. Through the agency of this licensee she decided to rent a shop unit in Mongkok on a short-term basis and, throughout the negotiation of prices, the landlord was fully represented by the licensee and the tenant had no contact with the landlord. When everything was agreed upon the licensee arranged for a tenancy agreement drafted by herself to be signed by the tenant. Rent and commission were duly paid.

Shortly after the tenancy had commenced the tenant found that the shop unit was not what she had expected and intended to terminate the tenancy agreement. She approached the licensee many times for the purpose of contacting the landlord but without success. She then demanded a copy of the tenancy agreement and once again the licensee procrastinated with many excuses. Eventually the tenant discovered that the licensee simply had never submitted the tenancy agreement to the landlord for execution, and other required procedures such as stamping had not been followed. The tenant then brought the case to the attention of EAA.

The Disciplinary Committee held an inquiry hearing and, having heard the testimony from both sides, held that the licensee had committed grave mistakes as an estate agent in the course of the tenancy in question. She was found to have failed in discharging her basic duties as an agent and it was also apparent to the Committee that she had no understanding of her professional responsibility. As a result she had her licence suspended for two months and requirements for further training were also imposed upon her.

Paragraph 3.3.1 of the Code of Ethics
Estate agents and salespersons shall, in the course of business, provide services to clients with honesty, fidelity and integrity. They should protect their clients against fraud, misrepresentation or any unethical practices in connection with real estate transactions.
 

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