Developers warned to abide by sale rules

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 May, 2008, 12:00am

Developers could face legislation if a new set of self-imposed rules on defining the saleable floor area of flats is not effective by the summer, the government said yesterday.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng told legislators that developers would have to follow a uniform definition of saleable floor area, which can only include the actual size of the flat and balcony.

Information on public open space within a private development had also to be shown on the price list and spelled out clearly on the sales brochures, Ms Cheng said.

She was speaking during debate on a motion by lawmaker Albert Cheng King-hon calling for legislation to minimise confusion on the definition which followed vehement criticism by legislators on the current practice by developers.

Ms Cheng said the Real Estate Developers' Association would issue guidelines to its members which would be incorporated into a consent scheme - a set of agreements to be complied with by the developers.

Under the guidelines, auxiliary accommodation such as cocklofts and bay windows, car parks, yards, terraces, gardens and roofs should be excluded from the calculation of saleable floor area and their sizes should be listed individually.

'The new measures can unify the definition of saleable floor area and will be in line with the guidelines issued by the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors,' Ms Cheng said.

She said the government would consider legislation if these measures were not effective by this summer.

Lawrence Poon Wing-cheung of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, who chairs the institute's saleable area working group, said the measures would minimise confusion.

He said enhancing the consent scheme would be more practical than legislation.

'Drafting new laws is undoubtedly a more powerful tool,' he said. But he added that this would be more time consuming, taking up to two years to implement.

Property developers will face penalties for breaches of the consent scheme.