A NEW trend is threatening to disrupt the smooth running of prime office complexes, it has been revealed. Owners are replacing tenants in big buildings as demand to buy space, rather than rent, increases. Property experts are concerned it could affect the management of some of Hongkong's most prestigious buildings. Mr Terence Chow, a co-director at property agents Vigers, said: ''All the owners are on the same basis when it comes to decision making. ''It will be quite difficult to get everyone to agree on things that require major capital expense to improve the building. ''The trouble with too many small owners is that you get management problems in prime offices.'' All grades of office are being affected. In prime Grade A complexes, big corporate companies, which are used to a solitary but quality system of management, are already noticing changes. At the top end of the field, the Bank of America Tower and the Lippo Centre were ''market leaders'', Mr Chow said. Four floors at the Bank of America have been split up and there are six separate owners on the fifth floor, a source has told the South China Morning Post. The source said: ''This is a trend which started only recently and I am sure it is something that is going to happen more and more. ''The management of a building is certainly a lot easier when there is only one owner to deal with.'' ''In the long term, it could create problems. It will make administration more difficult.'' Mr Chow believed more stringent controls in each building's Deed of Mutual Covenant would help solve the problem. He said the situation would improve if restrictions were put on owners splitting up floors into smaller individual units. More firms, especially local Hongkong ones, are buying office space at the moment. Many are guarding against high rent rises expected in the next few years as supply in top areas dries up. It is believed that mainland Chinese firms keen to move into Hongkong are also taking advantage of the new trend. Mr Chow said: ''It's very difficult to say what is good or bad, or what should be done. ''On the one hand you should appreciate that more and more owner occupiers is not a bad thing. ''When there is demand from buyers, the market should satisfy that demand, and that is a very healthy thing. ''If the demand can't be satisfied, speculators will come in and make big money. ''But good management is becoming more important. ''This trend results in more people going in and out of a building, and it makes it more difficult for companies to expand. ''It is not a big problem but it is one which should be watched carefully.''