Crusade to control agents

CENTALINE Agencies, one of Hong Kong's largest estate agency chains, is again taking the lead by initiating steps to clean up the industry's act.

It will introduce a string of measures aimed at preventing corruption and improving transparency well ahead of a proposed government bill.

It will provide more accurate data on property sizes, distinguishing between net and gross floor areas.

It also wants to give customers more up-to-date market information, including latest price movements and volume of activity.

Clients will be told exactly what role the agent is playing, making it clear whether they have a vested interest.

Some agents have been guilty of selling property they own while concealing from buyers they were the vendors.

Centaline took the lead in fighting this front in the mid-'80s by calling a halt to speculating in property.

Shih Wing-Ching, Centaline managing director, hoped other agents would follow his lead and not wait until they were forced by law.