LCQ8: Conflicts between management committees of owners' corporations and owners of private properties

     Following is a question by the Hon Wong Yuk-man and a written reply by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, in the Legislative Council today (June 13):


     Recently, I have received quite a number of cases concerning disputes between management committees ("MCs") of owners' corporations and minority owners of buildings. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) given that in times of the change of MCs, elections are often co-ordinated or presided over by the incumbent MCs or the property management companies appointed by them, and some owners consider that there is a perceived conflict of interest, but since they are not familiar with matters of building management, they have nowhere to turn to for assistance, whether the authorities will review the existing legislation and the relevant rules, and arrange for the Home Affairs Department ("HAD") to assist in co-ordinating matters of the change of MCs; if they will not, of the reasons for that; and

(b) given that some owners have reflected that some elderly owners had been misled into signing proxies to commission other people to represent them to attend and vote at owners' meetings, and since they are not familiar with matters of building management and the litigation process, it is difficult for them to seek restorative justice through legal proceedings, what measures HAD has put in place to improve such a situation?



     Building management is the responsibility of the owners. It is the Government's policy to play the role of a facilitator to, through multi-pronged measures, encourage and assist owners to form owners' corporations ("OCs") and provide appropriate support to assist owners in discharging their building management responsibilities. The Building Management Ordinance ("BMO") (Cap 344) provides a legal framework for building management, formation and operation of OCs, and other related matters.  

     My reply to the Hon Wong Yuk-man's question is as follows:

(a) As an independent body corporate, individual OC is responsible for electing and appointing members of its own new management committee. Schedules 2 and 3 to the BMO have clearly set out the composition and meeting procedures of an OC. In accordance with Paragraph 5 of Schedule 2, all members of the MC shall retire from office at the second annual general meeting (AGM) and thereafter at every alternate AGM. Members of a new MC shall also be elected and appointed at those AGMs.
     According to Paragraph 3(1) of Schedule 3, an OC's AGM shall be presided over by the MC chairman, who shall chair the meeting and elect members of the new MC in accordance with the relevant requirements as stipulated in the BMO. While the OC may commission a management company to assist in the execution of such work as the arrangement of meeting venue, the company shall not preside over the meeting in lieu of the MC chairman. Owners may at any time seek advice from designated liaison officers of the Home Affairs Department of the procedures of an AGM or any relevant requirements of the BMO. HAD staff will also attend an OC's AGM to observe the course of the meeting and may give advice on its procedures as and when necessary.
(b) According to Paragraph 4(1) of Schedule 3 to the BMO, an owner may cast a vote personally or by proxy at a meeting of the OC. The format and handling procedure of the instrument of proxy (the so-called "proxy form") have also been specified in the Schedule.

     HAD encourages owners to attend owners' meetings of the OC as far as possible to participate in building management directly and cast their votes in person. We have, by means of publicity and education such as publishing "Building Management Toolkit" in collaboration with the Independent Commission Against Corruption and other relevant organizations, reminded owners who are unable to attend the meeting personally to appoint persons they trust as their proxies to attend the meeting and vote on their behalves. They are also advised not to give any signed blank proxy instruments to others. Owners who have found themselves being misled into signing any proxy instruments may put forward a request to the MC chairman before the meeting for cancellation of the instruments submitted, or, alternatively, attend the meeting in person.

     To keep in pace with the changing circumstances, HAD is now reviewing the BMO and has set up the Review Committee on the Building Management Ordinance ("Review Committee") to study in detail common problems in building management and solutions. The Review Committee will submit an interim report to the Government in due course. We will carefully consider the way forward upon receipt of the report.

Ends/Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Issued at HKT 12:38