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Untitled Document
Inquiry Hearing Cases--A Selection II (Excerpts)

Overlooking licensing requirements may lead to penalty

The Authority conducted regular visits to estate agency establishments to ensure due compliance of the licensing and practice requirements. In one of such visits to a company's registered office at Premises A in Chai Wan, it was revealed that the place was a vacant factory unit.

Later, officers of the Authority visited this company at Premises B on Bonham Road. Officers were received by a licensed employee who was only able to produce a copy of the Statement of Particulars of Business ("SPOB") issued for Premises A. According to the employee, the shop had been opened for 6 months and it was a branch of the main office which was located on Seymour Road.

On the same day, officers visited the company's main office at Premises C on Seymour Road and spoke to the sole proprietor of the company. He produced the SPOB for Premises A and admitted that his business which used to be at Premises A had been relocated to Premises C for two years and he did not amend the address in the SPOB. He also admitted that he had opened a branch at Premises B for six months but did not apply for an SPOB for that branch.

On the next day, the proprietor applied for amendment of the SPOB address (from Premises A to Premises C) and also applied for a new SPOB for the branch at Premises B. He later wrote to the Authority saying that he deeply regretted having committed the breaches of the licensing regulations out of oversight and heavy workload. The Disciplinary Committee considered the case and found that the proprietor had indeed operated both Premises B and C in breach of the licensing regulations in respect of SPOB and decided to impose a fine of $3,000 for each of the breaches and also to send him a reprimand.


Section 10 of the Estate Agents (Licensing) Regulation
(1)
A licensed estate agent shall, before carrying on estate agency business at any place under a particular business name, apply to the Authority for the grant of a statement of particulars of business for that place and name and shall pay to the Authority the relevant portion of the licence fee in respect of such business.
(2)
The Authority may, upon an application under subsection (1) and payment of the relevant portion of the licence fee, grant to the licensed estate agent (or, where the business is carried on by two or more licensed estate agents, to any one of them) a statement of particulars of business.
(3)
A statement of particulars of business may be granted, and may upon application be renewed, for a period for which the portion of the licence fee in respect of the business has been paid and expiring not later than-
 
(a)
the expiry of the estate agent's licence of the person by whom the statement is to be held; or
(b)
in the case of a statement to be held in respect of a partnership, the latest date on which the estate agent's licence of any member of the partnership is to expire.
(4)
A statement of particulars of business shall have effect only in so far as the person named therein (or if two or more persons are so named, at least one of them) is a licensed estate agent and, accordingly, the Authority may require any person in possession of any statement that has ceased to have effect under this subsection to surrender it.
(5)
For the avoidance of doubt, the grant or renewal of a statement of particulars of business for any period in respect of a business carried on by two or more persons as members of a partnership shall not entitle any such person to do estate agency work after he ceases to be a licensed estate agent.
(6)
An application by any person under subsection (1) or (3) for the grant or renewal of a statement of particulars of business for a business carried on by him or as a member of a partnership, whether made at the same time as his application for the grant or renewal of a estate agent's licence or thereafter, forms part of the latter application.

Section 14(1)(d) of the Estate Agents (Licensing) Regulation
(Every holder of an estate agent's licence shall) not carry on estate agency business under a business name or at a place of business other than the one specified in a statement of particulars of business granted to him.

 

 

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