THE Law Reform Commission is considering legislation to protect consumers from false information in advertisements for uncompleted overseas flats. This follows the release yesterday of a commission report recommending new laws addressing the failure to use standard measures for gross floor area, fittings and fixtures in sales brochures for Hong Kong property. The commission is also asking Attorney-General Jeremy Mathews and Chief Justice Sir Ti Liang Yang for permission to investigate advertised descriptions of completed residential flats on sale. Commission sub-committee chairman Professor Derek Roebuck said it was possible further inquiries would include the commercial sector and overseas flats, partially because of the good public response to last year's paper on the lack of redress for purchasers of uncompleted flats. Locally, Professor Roebuck said, the commission believed 'there should be criminal sanctions . . . first of all fines and in sufficiently seriously cases imprisonment'. He said the commission was 'convinced legislation was needed, not principally to control the quality of a flat but the quality of the information about the flat to enable purchasers to make wise and informed choices'. Major recommendations include: Standardising in law the term 'gross floor area' and making the inclusion of 'saleable area' mandatory in sales brochures; Insisting that sales brochures contain specific floor plans with proper dimensions and expected completion dates; Listing fittings and finishes and their brands and countries of origin; and Making available for inspection at all times deeds of mutual covenant in Chinese and English. The Secretary for Housing, Dominic Wong Shing-wah, last night welcomed the report. 'It is essential that the sales literature should provide full and accurate information,' he said. 'This is particularly so with a flat under construction where potential buyers cannot properly make an inspection of size or quality.' The Society of Hong Kong Real Estate Agents said the report's proposals were essential to ensure consumer protection. 'Basically, I think these are good suggestions and we are in full support of the recommendations,' society president Michael Choi Ngai-min said. 'In the past, we have never had any definition for 'gross floor area' and so, although most developers have used the proper floor area, some may have been inflating the position. 'Developers should not have too much trouble [following the recommendations].' However, Brooke Hillier Parker senior partner Nicholas Brooke said demands for details on fittings might be too onerous. 'Generally, we would obviously be supportive because we need to bring in a bit of discipline, uniformity and conformity. ''But, perhaps the pendulum has swung a bit too much the other way in asking for developers to supply brands and makes of fittings in sales brochures,' he said. The commission said it wanted to complete its study on overseas flats quickly.