Government snubs building tribunal plan
THE Government has so far rejected proposals for setting up a Building Management Tribunal to deal with the increasing number of disputes arising over property management.
The most the Government would currently do is consider making use of the Lands Tribunal to perform the role, said Mr Stephen Yuen, president of the Hongkong Association of Property Management Companies.
However, even this measure is not certain to be approved.
The only provision now made for resolving disputes in the Multi-Storey Building (Amendment) Bill - due for its third reading within the next two months - was for an authorised officer to inspect the relevant documents, but this would be insufficient, he said.
Mr Yuen added the Legco Ad Hoc group was exerting pressure on the Government to have a clause on the setting up of a building management tribunal inserted in the bill, but the Government was rejecting the idea in principle.
He said the major obstacles were insufficient resources, and legislative procedure.
He added there had initially been a working group set up to look at the problems involved in property management and also to help in the drafting of the bill, but this had been abolished once it had done so.
Mr Yuen said there had been a number of recent disputes between owners, as well as between owners and property managers about renovation costs and how these should be shared. Such disputes have become more and more controversial.
He said the proposed Building Management Tribunal would cover all disputes arising over property management, including management fee arrears.
It would be similar to the Lands, Labour, or Small Claims Tribunals, but would not hear any criminal cases, he said.
It would therefore not be responsible for cases such as the recently reported incidents of corruption, malpractice or the harassing of tenants by management company employees.
He said the bill was still in its second reading and was due for its third reading within the next two months.
Some clauses would take effect immediately the bill had been passed, while others would be delayed.
The controversial termination clause, whereby owners with a minimum 50 per cent stake could give a manager three months notice to quit, - regardless of the contract period and without any reason - would not come into operation for a year.
Some of its clauses would take effect immediately, including one relating to the appointment of a subcontractor.