8.18 Candidates who wish to display their EAs on land/property other than government land/property and other than the designated spots must obtain the prior written permission or authorisation of the owner or occupier [s 104A of Cap 132].
The obtaining of written permission or authorisation from the private owner or occupier is a matter for private arrangement between the candidate and the owner or occupier, and they are therefore called private spots.
A copy of the written permission or authorisation must be deposited with the RO for the relevant GC or FC before display. [Please also see para. 8.23 below.] Any consideration, fee or money incurred or agreed to be paid by or on behalf of the candidate to the owner or occupier for display of his EAs forms part of his election expenses.
If a commercial advertising space for rent is allowed by the private owner or occupier to be used free of charge by a candidate for display of his EAs, a reasonable market value for the use of that space will have to be accounted for by the candidate as an election donation and counted as election expenses.
Such a provision is to ensure that the candidate concerned will not have unfair advantage over the others who do not have access to such facilities.
If the private spot for displaying the EA is normally used for commercial purpose, the actual rent charged or the usual rent or market rent that would normally be charged should be counted as the election expenses of the candidate concerned, irrespective of whether it is owned by the candidate or whether the owner of it allows the candidate to use it free of charge (in which case it would be a donation of the rent).
Where a space provided by a particular private owner or occupier for a candidate to display EAs is not used for commercial advertising, but similar space belonging to other owners or occupiers is available for commercial advertising, the market value of the space should also be accounted for. The provision of this kind of rent-free space should be regarded as donation.
For details on how the estimated value should be assessed, please refer to para. 16.21 of Chapter 16. If a space is not normally used by any private owners or occupiers for commercial advertising, there is no need for the candidate to account for its value.