• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 3:56am
PropertyHong Kong & China

Developer defends legality of selling new flats without advance viewing

The builder of Hong Kong's cheapest new flats says circumstances make it OK to sell them without the advance viewing usually required by law

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 July, 2014, 12:25am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 July, 2014, 3:22am

Hong Kong's largest developer, Cheung Kong, defended its decision to prohibit prospective buyers from viewing flats in a new development, saying it did not break the law.

The company was adamant that it would not change the sales arrangement for the Mont Vert residential project in Tai Po, which requires people interested in buying a flat to sign a "no-viewing agreement".

The development includes some of Hong Kong's cheapest new flats, with a 194 sq ft studio selling for as little as HK$1.94 million. The first batch of 260 will be offered next Saturday.

Hong Kong law requires developers to allow potential buyers to view the actual flat or a comparable unit in a completed project. If they can't do that, they must seek the consent of the prospective buyers to go ahead sight-unseen, something Secretary for Transport and Housing Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung characterised as a last resort.

But Justin Chiu Kowk-hung, an executive director at Cheung Kong, said the company was complying with the law by being transparent about the lack of available flats to show.

"Those who believe we do not supply sufficient information about the project should delay their purchase," he said.

"Due to consideration of the safety of prospective buyers, it is not reasonably practicable to open the project for public viewing as the construction work of the phase-two development is still going on inside the site."

Cheung Kong did create two model flats at its sales office in Hung Hom, but not at the site.

Cheung said the government took the case very seriously.

"The passage of the Residential Properties (First-hand sales) Ordinance [in 2012] was to ensure flat buyers as consumers would be protected," he said.

Compounding the problems with advance viewing, the Sales and First-hand Residential Properties Authority (SRPA) alerted prospective buyers yesterday to the existence of grave sites near two of the towers in the new development.

Brochures for the development made clear the graves' existence, but prospective buyers would not be able to see them without visiting the site.

Cheung said the SRPA would decide whether Cheung Kong violated the law after studying the developer's explanation and seeking legal advice.

One potential buyer said Cheung Kong should let people in her position inspect the actual flats they would be buying.

"Show flats of such kind are a publicity stunt. A friend of mine decided to purchase a residential property after visiting a show flat and later felt deceived after spotting huge discrepancies between the two," she said.

Sandy Li, Olga Wong, Brian Yap and Shirley Zhao


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This article is now closed to comments

So you pay 10,000 per square foot for a cell-size flat at the end of the road in the most remote corner of Tai Po. You get a kitchen without room for a stove (useless...), and you're lucky if you can fit a bed in your flat without blocking any doorways.

And to top it all up, you then have a tomb right in front of your window.

What was it again with Li Ka-Shing not being able to sleep at night because he worried so much about the people of Hong Kong? What a joke. The only thing that keeps the man up at night is thinking about new conniving ways to extract more money from people.
Just the sort of stunt we have come to expect from Cheung Kong.
What is the coat of flaunting the law? A fine of HKD500,000. Maybe if the penalty included imprisonment then the developers would be worried.
They don't like that you see the real quality of the flats finishing, until it is too late.
The showroom models looks nice, but different from reality.
Disgusting! How long did it take Cheung Kong to find the loopholes in the new legislation? How could the Buildings Department let this through? One thing remains - Mr Li you can't take all that wealth with you no matter how philanthropic you consider yourself to be.
"It did not big the law" that's the best you have, Cheungkong? Do you value your supposed to be well admired brand name? I heard people use this 'it did not break the law!' phrase the most often are the hawkers in the street or gangs (古惑仔) confronting policeman interrogation. How come a real estate giant got degenerated to something like that. Unbelievable.
I am sure Li will show up in the scene like what he did years ago in Lohas park taking a deep breathe in front of the camera yelling the air was so fresh. Then people would then buy in flats without carefully examining the sites and years later all showing up innocent faces outside Legco demonstrating the closure of the land filled. This time might be different, land filled could have expiration date but seems never heard of expiry of private graveyard. Good luck, new owners-would be.
Wah so cheap! Thank you LKS. I've always wanted to see what it would be like to live in prison. Now I can spend my life savings to know the feeling. Oh wait prices start from 1.94M. Hmmm........best get in there soon.
Nowadays developers (or particularly this developer ?) are ruthless and without mercy all in the name of exploiting the needy. Why would anyone sell a claustrophobic flat at outrageous prices and more demented why would anyone want to pay for it? Why not go with older age buildings with more breathing room ? Are people turning to masochists or the simple fact the notion of owning a NEW flat is too tempting to ignore ?
I don't believe in karma but someone is eventually going to reap what they sow.
Why would any body go see a flat built by Cheung Kong?
I never did.



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