Business people must be protected from greedy landlords

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 4:04am

Doing business in Hong Kong for the small-business entrepreneur is now impossible due to the very poor situation of affordable office space.

We have been looking and looking and looking. What we have found is very depressing. Here are a few examples. An office that is purported to be 479 square feet is actually only 150 square feet when measured - a usable area of just over 30 per cent.

I know that in Wan Chai it is usually around 50 per cent, but over 30 per cent? How can this be correct?

Also, we haggled over the price of one place and finally agreed on a value - only to then be told that we must come up with six months' deposit.

Where else in the world does the landlord demand such unreasonable terms? The agent acted surprised. I am sure he was simply embarrassed.

I have been in Hong Kong for the past 13 years working and operating a small business, often hiring employees. Never has the situation been more desperate for us, in our efforts to get reasonable office space.

The space we were renting 10 years ago is now 300 per cent more today.

I am sure that I am not the only small-business person who is faced with this heavy burden.

It is only reasonable that the Hong Kong government intervenes and establishes some practical regulations that helps reduce the gratuitous greed that exists among its landowners.

I fear that Hong Kong people are becoming the victims of a cross-border tsunami and we will all be washed out to sea soon or later. This is a disaster that is happening now and no one hears the victims, nor cares even if they do.

People in Hong Kong need protection. Don't you agree?

Glen R. Towner, Towner and Partners Ltd, Sheung Wan