31st March 2023 – (Hong Kong) A landlord of subdivided units (SDUs) contravened Part IVA of the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance (Cap. 7) and pleaded guilty today at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts for 22 offences under the Ordinance. She was fined a total of $18,600. The offences of the landlord include failing to (1) produce copies of the bills and provide an account in writing when requiring the tenant to pay for the reimbursement of the apportioned water and electricity charges; (2) provide the tenant with a rent receipt; and (3) submit Notice of Tenancy (Form AR2) to the Commissioner of Rating and Valuation within 60 days after the term of the regulated tenancy commenced. This is the third SDU landlord being convicted of contravening the Ordinance, as well as the first SDU landlord being convicted of failing to submit Form AR2 to the Commissioner within the prescribed period since the Ordinance came into force on 22nd January, 2022.
The Rating and Valuation Department (RVD) received the relevant complaint in mid-November 2022. Upon in-depth investigation and evidence collection, the RVD discovered that the landlord concerned was suspected of contravening three requirements of the Ordinance, and hence prosecuted against the landlord.
Pursuant to Section 120AAZM of the Ordinance, when a landlord of a regulated tenancy requires the tenant to pay for the reimbursement of the charges for any of the specified utilities and services (including water and electricity charges) as a separate payment from the rent, the landlord must produce for the tenant copies of the relevant bills and provide an account in writing showing how the amounts are apportioned. The aggregate of the apportioned amounts also must not exceed the billed amounts. Failing to comply with such obligations is an offence. The landlord is liable on a first conviction to a fine at level 3 ($10,000), and on a second or subsequent conviction to a fine at level 4 ($25,000).
Pursuant to Section 120AAZN of the Ordinance, a landlord of a regulated tenancy must, within seven days after receiving the amount of rent paid by the tenant, provide the tenant with a receipt. The receipt must state the landlord’s name and address, the period for which the rent is paid, and the date of payment. A landlord failing to comply with the above requirements commits an offence and is liable to a fine at level 1 ($2,000).
In addition, pursuant to Section 120AAZT of the Ordinance, the landlord of a regulated tenancy must submit a completed Form AR2 to the Commissioner to notify the particulars of the tenancy within 60 days after the term of the regulated tenancy commenced. A landlord who refuses or neglects to comply with the above requirements without reasonable excuse commits an offence and is liable to a fine at level 3 ($10,000), and in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine of $200 for each day during which the offence continues.