Developers' group reluctant to play ball on new law for flat sales

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 October, 2010, 12:00am

The Real Estate Developers Association (Reda) said yesterday there was no need for new laws to regulate flat sales, just 24 hours after the government set up a committee to work on legislation.

A number of the association's corporate members met yesterday to discuss the measures announced in the chief executive's policy address relating to flat sales and the artificial inflation of apartment sizes.

'Our principle is to work with the government as much as possible, but we have yet to see whether all the measures are feasible. We do not aim to put up resistance,' said Louis Loong Hon-biu, the association's secretary general.

However, he said the association had not changed its view that there should be no law to regulate flat sales. 'We have already updated guidelines on flat sale arrangements. They have been working well,' Loong said. The association has yet to decide who will be its representative on the steering committee to regulate on the sale of new flats.

The committee will deliberate on the definition of new flats, sales practices, price lists, show flats, saleable area, the enforcement mechanism and penalties. It is expected to make recommendations within a year.

The 14-member committee is chaired by the permanent secretary for transport and housing, Duncan Pescod. It includes lawmaker Lee Wing-tat, the Democratic Party's spokesman on housing; lawmaker Dr Patrick Lau Sau-shing, who represents architects, surveyors and planners; Andrew Chan Chi-fai, a marketing professor at Chinese University; Lam Kin-che, a geography professor at Chinese University; and solicitor Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan, a vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. Representatives have yet to be named from the Consumer Council, the Estate Agents Authority, the Institute of Surveyors, the Law Society and Reda.

Lee Wing-tat said he disagreed with Reda that a law was unnecessary: 'Reda should reflect on why its position has always been different from the absolute majority view in society. I don't wish to see the committee end up saying there is no need for a law after working for a year, like in 2001.'

In that year the government aborted a law regulating flat sales after pressure from developers.