Well we actually told the agent to put in an offer of $X and she came back with the lower figure. She could easily have given the landlord our offer and got some extra commission - I think it was Mini-S's fault with his big blue eyes, she was smitten
OK, I accept what you are saying about the older places, yes probably in Mid-levels the buildings are better-maintained.
Thank you for taking the time to come back and explain your points in further detail.
Re the stamp duty point, if it operates in the same way as, for example, stamp duty on the sale of shares or sale of a property, then what this allows is a legal entitlement to the tenancy. This means that the tenant (and landlord) can rely on the tenancy agreement and any statutory rights arising from the relationship of landlord and tenant.
On this basis, it is not illegal to have your tenancy agreement unstamped. It just means that you cannot rely on any tenancy protections. It would, however, be foolish. You are then (at best) able to claim a beneficial ownership but have very little in terms of evidence to prove it.
It is a legal requirement to have your tenancy agreements stamped.
STAMP DUTY ORDINANCE - SECT 4 Charging of, liability for, and recovery of stamp duty
...(1) Subject to this Ordinance, every instrument, wherever executed, specified
in the First Schedule shall be chargeable with the stamp duty specified in
respect thereof in that Schedule, and the headings, notes and explanations in
that Schedule shall have effect accordingly.
(3) If any instrument chargeable with stamp duty is not duly stamped, the
person or persons respectively specified in section 13(10), 19 or 20 or the
First Schedule as being liable for stamping such instrument, and any person
who uses such instrument, shall be liable, or jointly and severally liable, as
the case may be, civilly to the Collector for the payment of the stamp duty
and any penalty payable under section 9, and may be proceeded against without
reference to any civil liability of such person inter se for the payment
Maybe I was lucky, my agent was amazing, totally great guy. Sucked as an agent though as he quit a month later as his sales figures were terrible. But he helped me get all the utilities and internet setup while I was away at work and even sat in my empty apartment for 4 hours waiting for my furniture to be delivered.
I find that newbie agents are nicer as they have not learned to be cut throat yet. The ones that have been at the game a long time are really sharp.
Mid-levels and South side make up a small portion of Hong Kong buildings, so when I said many, I was thinking about all the buildings I have seen in HK. Sham Shui Po, Kwun Tong, Mongkok.
@satay sue, glad to see we cleared things up.
Whoops, I was wrong about stamp duty not being illegal. Thanks for pointing that out, TB. That was useful to clarify.
I think the effect still applies: if you don't stamp your tenancy agreement, you will not be able to rely on it. This in most cases affects the tenant more than the landlord.
I guess it cuts both ways if you don't pay stamp.
If the tenant stops paying rent I would imagine there are harder or fewer legal avenues available to reclaim the property and the missing rent.
I've often had agents say "Do you want to pay stamp duty? The landlord doesn't care" but I've always paid it. I think it's less than $100 each so why not?