Property management companies should be subject to mandatory regulation though a single system, while their staff should be subject to a two-tier scheme, depending on qualifications, say government advisers. Making the proposals yesterday, an advisory committee on regulation of property management rejected arguments that there should be a multi-tier scheme for property companies, depending on their size. Committee chairman Chung Pui-lam said different tiers for the companies might create a labelling effect that favoured big firms over the smaller ones that make up more than two-thirds of the city's 800 management companies. The committee, under the Home Affairs Bureau, has been studying the issue since a public consultation, held from December 2010 to March 2011, concluded that a mandatory system was needed. 'The licensing systems are to be implemented to ensure the quality of services provided by property management companies ... to let consumers make appropriate choices,' Undersecretary for Home Affairs Florence Hui Hiu-fai said yesterday. Under the proposals, which have yet to be scrutinised by legislators, a property management services authority would be set up to oversee the licensing system. To get a licence a company would have to meet a set of criteria - covering aspects including its amount of registered capital and number of skilled staff. Individual managers with higher-level qualifications would be in the first tier of the licensing regime, while those who completed diploma or sub-degree courses would be in the second. The committee is studying how to deal with experienced existing managers who lack such qualifications. Professor Francis Wong Kwan-wah, of the Polytechnic University's building and real estate department, said: 'This is a good attempt, as the public's expectations on property management are getting higher,' he said. 'It can also push the companies to do better.' But he was concerned about there being enough suitable graduates to meet demand, saying some might be lost to the mainland market. The university supplies 30 graduates a year. It is the only institution in Hong Kong to offer a full-time course in property management, although others provide part-time courses. The committee said a transition period of three years should be allowed before full implementation of the licensing regime. Lawmaker Peter Cheung Kwok-che said he was worried about whether enough professional practitioners could be trained during that time to meet a sudden jump in demand. 'The number of professionals trained by local universities may not be sufficient to meet the demand of the industry,' he said. 'I wonder if there are enough qualified practitioners to manage so many buildings.'