Sun Hung Kai Properties

Developer sorry for flat size error

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 April, 2011, 12:00am

Sun Hung Kai Properties has apologised to buyers who were misled about the sizes of their newly-bought flats in a Yuen Long development due to a mistake in the sales brochures.

The developer will pay compensation to those who paid too much for their flats as a result of the mix-up, but will not claim money back from those who paid too little.

More than 90 per cent of the properties in One Regent Place, near Long Ping station, comprising eight houses and three 20-storey towers, have been sold. The brochures for 76 of the 329 flats put on the market mis-stated the size of the bay windows.

Sun Hung Kai said it swapped the bay window figures of Flats B and E on all floors of towers two and three, resulting in a difference of 11 square feet, either more or less, of gross floor area in each.

'Buyers will be given back the price difference if they have paid more than they need to. For those who have paid less, we will just let them go,' the developer's spokeswoman said. While 38 buyers bought a flat which is actually larger than the size specified in the sales brochure, another 38 bought a smaller flat.

The affected flats ranged in price from HK$5,800 to HK$7,000 a square foot of gross floor area. The amount to be paid to those with smaller flats is still being worked out. But those with larger flats have benefited by paying HK$63,800 to HK$77,000 less than they should have.

A spokeswoman for Sun Hung Kai Properties said the developer was deeply concerned and stressed the incorrect information was not intentionally released to mislead buyers.

She said the developer had informed all affected buyers and all were satisfied with the proposed arrangements.

But one buyer, Ms Wong, who did not want to disclose her full name, said it was unacceptable for developers to provide false information as buyers relied on sales brochures to make decisions on buying uncompleted flats.

Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah said the developer had shown responsibility by repaying the price difference, but there was little chance for buyers to claim a complete refund because of the mistake.

'They would have to prove that the size of bay window affected their decisions in buying the flats,' Tong said, adding the agreement for sale and purchase should be regarded as the final legal document, not the sales brochure.

Dr Lawrence Poon Wing-cheung, a spokesman for the Institute of Surveyors, said it was always the developers' own responsibility to ensure the validity of the information contained in the sales brochures under the consent scheme, which requires developers to disclose important sales information like the saleable area when selling uncompleted flats.

A spokeswoman for the Consumer Council urged the developer to correct the information on sales brochures as early as possible.

A spokeswoman for the Transport and Housing Bureau said it had written to the Real Estate Developers Association and would continue to follow up the case.