Prospective buyers of new apartment developments in Hong
Kong are often misled by artists' impressions of
grand clubhouses, photos of unobstructed sea views or lush
greeneries appearing in sales brochures even though the development
sites are actually located near public residential housing,
landfill sites or sewage treatment plants. To protect prospective
flat buyers, following criticisms on developers who often provide
misleading information or photos on advertisements and
brochures, the Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong
("REDA") has on 7 October 2009 issued a new set of
guidelines for sales descriptions and information in sales
brochures and advertisements of uncompleted residential properties
with effect from November 2009 ("Guidelines").
The new Guidelines include :-
For each uncompleted first-hand residential development under
the Lands Department's Consent Scheme, all information as
required under the Consent Scheme, the presale consent letter and
REDA's guidelines (as appropriate) should be contained in one
booklet entitled "sales brochure". Any other booklets
(e.g. promotional materials) made available to the prospective
purchasers should not be called a "sales brochure".
The sales brochures must not include any promotional materials
including artist impression pictures or graphics.
The sales brochures can include a one-page to-scale close-up
picture showing the outer appearance or building elevation of the
development, but this has to be endorsed by the appointed
The sales brochures should contain the property information
following the sequence as far as possible as set out in the
The location plan should provide information on nearby communal
facilities and features, even unpopular facilities such as refuse
collection points, cargo working area, ventilation shafts,
slaughterhouses, crematoriums, addiction treatment centers, prisons
etc. Under the Guidelines, a total of 34 facilities should be
specified if they are near the development, compared with only 16
required by the old guidelines.
The location plan and Outline Zoning Plan should follow the
dimensional requirements and be in the font size stipulated in the
The Area Schedule of the Units should follow the area
presentation format in the standardized price list template of
The public open space or public facilities should be coloured
or shown in accordance with the format as stipulated in the
Details of all important service agreements agreed prior to
delivery of the Units, including the telecommunications services,
should be listed out explicitly.
Developers should provide a Chinese translation of the salient
points of the Deed of Mutual Covenant and put a statement in both
English and Chinese stating that "where there is discrepancy
in meaning between the English and Chinese versions, the English
version shall prevail".
In addition, printed promotional materials and advertisements of
uncompleted first-hand residential development with artistic
impression of the development and/or its surrounding areas (which
must not be part of the sales brochures) must now contain a
statement advising prospective buyers to make on-site visit for a
better understanding of the development site, its surrounding
environment and the public facilities nearby and to read the sales
brochures for actual details of the development.
Sales brochures bearing a "Printing Date" from
November 2009 will be subject to the Guidelines. The Guidelines
will encourage clarity and completeness of information in sales
brochures and promotional materials and ensure prospective buyers
get more accurate information. Some argued that developers may
still continue to use creative graphics in promotional materials
such as television advertisements or create illusional images to
induce buyers. Prospective flat buyers are thus strongly advised to
read sales brochures in detail and not rely on visual images
Also currently, developers are only required to give interested
buyers sales brochures 24 hours before the launch of sales and it
has been suggested that such time need to be extended to enable the
buyers more time to read the complicated brochures.
Experienced lawyers in our Property Department will be happy to
assist with any queries you may have regarding the above article or
on any property and tenancy matters.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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