Estate agents warned off MTR stations

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2007, 12:00am

Estate agents who harass passengers or block entrances to train stations have been put on notice by the MTR Corporation and the Estate Agents Authority.

Agents who breach rail by-laws and disturb passengers will be referred to the authority and face a disciplinary hearing.

'When new properties near stations are put on sale or when show flats are near stations, many agents gather at railway premises to tout, causing a nuisance to passengers,' authority member William Leung Wing-cheung said yesterday.

'Even some developers have admitted that some agents' behaviour is problematic.'

Mr Leung, chairman of the authority's licensing and practice committee, said the authority, the MTR Corp and police would launch regular joint operations to inspect property sale sites near stations.

The authority's acting director of operations, Eric Wong Lun-cheong, said it had issued 448 verbal warnings to estate agents about harassing the public between January and September - 32 related to stations.

'We encourage the agents to work professionally and it will help them to get more business,' Mr Wong said.

Under MTR by-laws, the maximum penalty for touting on railway premises without authorisation is a HK$5,000 fine and six months' jail.

The Estate Agents Authority will also issue a circular reminding agents of their obligations relating to pursuing their business in public places.

Mr Leung said the warning would be issued soon to coincide with what he expected would be a busy time for the first-hand property market.

He hoped developers would limit the number of agents on site.

Last year the authority issued 555 verbal warnings to agents, 184 of them related to railway stations.

'Although the number of complaints has not risen, we hope to curb the number of complaints before they exceed last year's level,' Mr Leung said.

House calls

The number of warnings issued by the Estate Agents Authority against estate agents for harassing the public from January to September this year: 448