LC Paper No. LS 9/99-00
Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 8 October 1999
Legal Service Division Further Report on
Housing Managers Registration Bill
Members may recall that the Legal Service Division made a report to the House Committee on 9 July 1999 on the Bill (LC Paper No. LS223/98-99 refers). The purpose of the Bill is to provide for the registration and disciplinary control of professional housing managers. The House Committee has agreed to defer the decision on the Bill pending clarifications from the Administration.
2. Clause 3 of the Bill provides that no person may be appointed as a member of the Housing Managers Registration Board unless he is a member of the Institute. Clause 12(1)(a) prohibits the Board to register a person as a registered professional housing manager unless he is a member of the Institute. "Member of the Institute" is defined in clause 2 to mean a person who is a corporate member under the constitution of The Hong Kong Institute of Housing. The Legal Service Division has asked who the corporate members would be, and whether this definition is appropriate in relation to qualifications for registration under Clause 12(1)(a) since a registered professional housing manager has to be an individual.
3. The Administration has clarified that corporate members are those Fellows and ordinary members of the Institute who are entitled to vote at general meetings of the Institute. Other members are those who are not entitled to vote at the general meetings. They include associates, registered students, affiliates honorary Fellows and retired members. Corporate members are individuals and the definition applies to clause 12(1)(a).
4. A Member of the House Committee wishes to know the purpose for introducing a voluntary registration system since non-members are not prevented from practising as housing managers nor are they subject to disciplinary control. The Administration considers a voluntary registration system adequate to regulate the profession. To propose regulating a profession by legislation would require strong justifications such as ensuring public safety or protecting the public from suffering huge financial loss due to professional malpractices. The Bill aims to assure the public that those who claim to be qualified professional housing managers have received proper training and would observe a code of conduct during practice. It allows consumers to differentiate registered professional housing managers from unregistered ones with reference to their titles. A copy of the Administration's reply is at the Annex.
5. The legal and drafting aspects of the Bill are in order. Subject to Members' views, the Bill is ready for resumption of the Second Reading debate.
Wong Sze-man, Bernice
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
30 September 1999