Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - Page 4 News List

New Taipei rules target false house ads

JUST THE FACTS:The city government has announced new regulations which aim to stop real-estate agencies from misleading consumers with false property information

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei City Government yesterday unveiled regulations on the provision of information in real-estate trading aimed at preventing deceptive advertising, while dismissing claims that it is intervening in the property market.

The regulations require real-estate agencies to ensure that any information they include in advertisements for real-estate products or provide about the housing market is based on facts.

Since they are administrative rules, the regulations do not stipulate the levying of fines for non-compliance. Instead, the city government will instruct those who violate the regulations to improve their conduct and report the case to the central government or a related government agency for further disciplinary action if the violator fails to make improvements.

Taipei Deputy Mayor Chang Chin-oh (張金鶚), a real-estate expert, said the regulations reflect the local government’s proactive approach to creating a healthy housing market.

“The regulations are not a gag order for the real-estate industry. We are aiming to stop the spreading of confusing and deceptive information on housing so consumers’ rights will be better protected,” he told a press conference at Taipei City Hall yesterday.

Taipei City’s Department of Land Commissioner Huang Rong-feng (黃榮峰) said real-estate agencies and construction firms often mislead consumers with false claims, such as that average house prices in an area are NT$3 million (US$100,470) per ping (3.3m2) when they are much lower, or that there are only a few units left in an apartment complex when there are many.

“From now on, real-estate agencies will be asked to provide information to prove that their advertisements are factual,” he said.

Chang said the city government did not form a special task force or investigative team to look into deceptive real-estate advertisements, but said it will conduct random inspections to enforce the regulations. The city government also encouraged people to file complaints if they uncover false information, he added.

Real-estate agencies that are found to have used deceptive information to promote their products can be fined in accordance with the Fair Trade Act (公平交易法) or Real Estate Broking Management Act (不動產經紀業管理條例), Chang said.

Chinatrust Real Estate vice chairman Richard Liu (劉天仁) said the regulations would prompt real-estate agencies to be more cautious when advertising housing products, but they would not affect house prices.

“We are glad to see the city government is not trying to punish the industry with fines. We hope it will keep its promise and promote a healthy housing market via consultation, not intervention,” he said.

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