We thank Ms Ng Xian Hui for her letter (Is collecting signed blank cheques from potential home buyers proper?; Sept 18).
Property agents are regulated by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA). Under its guidelines, agents are not allowed to collect cheques from buyers for a new project sales launch unless there is a request in writing by the developer to the property agency that the agents represent.
Property agents are also required to prepare an authorisation letter to be signed by the prospective buyers when they collect cheques from them.
To safeguard the interests of these buyers, this letter must state key information such as the details of the project, the conditions under which the property agency or agent is authorised to hand over the cheque to the developer (for example, the maximum allowable amount for which the cheques can be drawn) and the procedures for the cheque to be returned to the prospective buyer in the event that he decides not to proceed with the purchase of the unit.
A copy of this letter must be given to the prospective buyer on the day that the letter is signed.
Consumers can contact CEA if they are aware of property agencies and agents who have not adhered to these practices.
On Ms Ng's feedback regarding the marketing and sale practices of developers, the Controller of Housing reviews the relevant policies from time to time to ensure that the interests of private home buyers are protected.
Acting Deputy Director (Policy & Planning)
Council for Estate Agencies
Ling Hui Lin (Ms)
Controller of Housing
Urban Redevelopment Authority