en-USzh-HKzh-CN

New Scheme for Disciplinary Cases


Introduction

Upon reviewing the non-compliance in the trade, the EAA found that a number of cases commonly breached by the trade were relatively straight forward in nature. In order to encourage the trade to rectify those straight forward breaches expeditiously and to deter repeated breaches, the EAA launches a New Scheme for Disciplinary Cases (“the Scheme”) with effect from 1 January 2014. The Scheme aims at raising the trade’s vigilance against those common but straight forward breaches with a view to improving compliance in the trade in the long run. Under the Scheme, licensees committing these common but straight forward breaches for the first time would, subject to the terms of the Scheme, not be disciplined but any subsequent breaches within a two-year period might attract more severe sanctions.


The Eight Specified Breaches

The Scheme covers breaches of eight specified requirements under the Estate Agents Ordinance (“EAO”), Estate Agents Practice (General Duties and Hong Kong Residential Properties) Regulation (“PR”) and Estate Agents (Licensing) Regulation (“LR”).

The eight specified breaches are as follows:

1.

Failure to possess prescribed information (EAO s.36(1)(a)(i))

2.

Failure to enter into an estate agency agreement with client (PR ss.6(1) & 6 (2))

3.

Failure to complete form in accordance with the directions and instructions specified in the form; Failure to accompany form by documents specified in the form. (PR ss.3(2)(a) & 3(2)(b))

4.

Failure to give notice to the EAA within 31 days of
(i) ceasing to be engaged in estate agency work;
(ii) employment of salespersons or termination thereof;
(iii) appointment of managers for the purposes of the Estate Agents Ordinance or termination thereof;
(iv) appointment of directors or termination thereof; and
(v) the becoming or ceasing to become a member of a partnership engaged in estate agency work (EAO ss.40(1) to 40(5))

5.

Failure to keep (i) a record of all listings received and (ii) a copy of all estate agency agreements entered into for not less than three years (PR s.8(2)(a))

6.

Failure to notify the EAA in writing of a change of registered address (EAO s.14(3)(a))

7.

Failure to retain a copy of receipt issued to clients for not less than three years (PR s.12(2)(b))

8.

Failure to state the number of licence or statement of particulars of business, the business name and place of business in any document (LR s.14(1)(b)); AND
Failure to state the number of licence or statement of particulars of business and the business name in advertisement (LR s.14(1)(c))



Details of the Scheme

1.

Any licensee who has not been disciplined for any breaches from 1 January 2014 is eligible to opt for the Scheme. When a licensee is found to have breached one or more of the specified breaches for the first time (with effect from 1 January 2014), he will be invited to agree to the facts of the case and the specific allegations in question.  He will also be so invited even if there are any other breaches not falling within the category of the specified breaches.

   

2.

If the licensee agrees to the facts and allegations and he opts for the Scheme in accordance with its terms, no disciplinary action will be taken against the licensee. If the licensee does not agree to the facts and/or the allegations or that he does not opt for the Scheme, then the case will be handled in the usual manner and an inquiry hearing will be recommended to the Disciplinary Committee and the licensee is subject to the sanction determined by the inquiry hearing panel.

   

3.

If the licensee has opted for the Scheme, a record will be entered into a Memorandum of Admitted Breaches (“the Memorandum”) to record the specified breach(es) so admitted by the licensee.  

The Memorandum is made public at the EAA’s website.

Each record in the Memorandum will be shown at the EAA’s website for two years starting from the date the licensee signs the admission letter (i.e. “the relevant date”). However, such record will be retained together with the licensee’s disciplinary record for sentencing purpose in the future cases.

   

4.

A notice will be issued to the licensee notifying him/her that an entry has been added to the Memorandum with a reminder that the licensee should visit the EAA’s website regularly on the availability of relevant CPD course.

   

5.

If the licensee is found to have breached any requirement within the two years from the relevant date (irrespective of whether it is one of the specified breaches or not), the case will be dealt with in the usual manner, i.e.  the case will be submitted to Disciplinary Committee, with a recommendation on heavier sanctions.

It is the inquiry hearing panel which has the ultimate power on the determination of the level of sanctions with due regards to the gravity of the breach, deterrence and other relevant factors.

   


Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Please click here to read the questions and answers about the Scheme.

EVENT CALENDAR

Upcoming schedule of CPD and Examinations

Learn More
LICENSEE

Useful quick links for Licensees

Learn More
CONSUMER CORNER

FAQ and useful information for consumers

Learn More
PROSPECTIVE LICENSEE

Useful information before becoming an estate agent

Learn More