Hong Kong is a metropolis. However, some media reported that the “Peak Castle,” a mansion worth hundreds of millions of dollars, had serious structural problems two years after its completion. Problems included, for example: wall cracks, water seepage and leakage, and cracks in stone flooring. All these minor problems appeared at the beginning of occupancy to which the owner contacted the property management party for repairs.
Over time, there were an increasing number of problems with the property. The poor quality of the building became more and more obvious. Below please find photo evidence of the problems.
1. The gaps between the window and the wall are growing wider and wider.
- The slate wall covering of the outer wall has fallen off.
- Faulty house septic system.
- Swimming pool is abandoned.
The owner is very disappointed with these structural issues of this property. After many fruitless negotiations between the owner and the property management, the owner hired professionals to investigate the property. The conclusion of the consultation was that the property was unfit for living.
The owner has sent legal documents to the developer Emperor Group. Finally, the Emperor Group sent a representative to contact the owner. The end result after negotiation was that the owner may recover the purchasing price of the property. However the property taxes, the stamp duties would not be compensated. This means that the owner would loose 30 Million HKD from this solution. Currently, the owners are determined to continue to sue the Emperor Group and is currently seeking solutions with various government departments.
The owner has consulted with many government departments, such as the Consumer Council and the Sales of First-hand Residential Properties Authority. The answer is that the housing quality problem does not belong to the government bodies’ jurisdiction. The owner also consulted Invest Hong Kong as the owner bought the house as an immigration investment, Invest Hong Kong also inquired about the relevant legal provisions and replied to the owner, but failed to guide the owner to complain about the poor quality of the house. The owner complained to many government departments, such as the Inland Revenue Department, the Housing Bureau and the Stamp Office, but still couldn’t get satisfactory results.
Under the BO, no new building shall be occupied unless an Occupation Permit (OP) in respect of such building has been issued. Application for OP should be made by the AP, RSE, RGE and RC responsible for the project. They should certify on a specified form that the building has been completed in accordance with the provisions of the BO and its regulations, and the plans approved in respect of the new building, and is structurally/geotechnically safe.
Upon receipt of an OP application, we will carry out OP inspection and examine the required documents. An OP will only be issued when the building is ready for occupation.
The owner said that the Buildings Department granted an Occupation Permit to the property, and the developer had to prepare a building plan in accordance with the Buildings Ordinance and submit it to the Buildings Department for approval. After the completion of the new site, the Buildings Department sent staff to the new site for inspection to verify whether the property is structurally/geotechnically safe. According to proper procedures, an occupation permit is only granted only if the property passes inspection. However, judging from the present condition of the property, it is obvious that the structure is unsafe and the occupancy standard is not up to standard. The owner is seeking not only a refund of stamp duty, but also clarification on which party should be held responsible.
Unfortunately, it has been more than a month since the owner first wrote to various government department, but no real solution has been received and advised so far. The only response has been to the effect of, “deep sympathy”.
The owner was attracted to invest in Hong Kong through Invest HK, the owner also said that he also set up a number of companies in Hong Kong to create dozens of employment opportunities for Hong Kong. Now, however, with the housing property is unstable, the Hong Kong government has turned a blind eye to the investor’s experiences in Hong Kong and shirked their responsibilities. This kind of experience has greatly shaken the confidence of the investors in consideration of the possibility of increasing their investment in Hong Kong.
In the post-epidemic era, the global economy has been hit hard, and the world is facing an economic recession. After Hong Kong’s hard fight against the epidemic, all industries are in recession, and investors are heading for Singapore. It is still unknown when the glory of the past will reappear.
Now, Hong Kong is also opening up to the whole world. How to win the confidence of investors is particularly important for Hong Kong. This case is a comprehensive demonstration of investors’ confidence in Hong Kong. It is hoped that the Hong Kong government will take the initiative and solve the problems encountered by investors in Hong Kong and restore the confidence of investors.
1.Indoor stairs: wall cracks/water seepage
2.Basement: concrete spalling/big cracks
3.Outdoor stairs: concrete spalling/big cracks