Principal: The owners’ corporation, as the legal entity representing all owners in managing the common areas of the building, is the principal. Property management company, consultant or contactor is also the principal in respect of its staff and agents.
Agent: The members of management committee of owners’ corporation, employees of owners’ corporation, property managers, etc. are agents of the owners’ corporation. Employees of a property management company, consultant or contractor are also agents# of property management company, consultant or contractor respectively.
Example: An owners’ corporation of a residential estate, formed in accordance with the Building Management Ordinance (BMO), represents all owners to manage the common areas in the estate. It, being the principal according to the law, applies for subsidies in the OBB 2.0. Normally, the powers and duties of an owners’ corporation are exercised by the management committee for effective building management of the estate as stipulated in the BMO. All members of management committee are agents of the owners’ corporation and abide by the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance. Without the approval of the owners’ corporation, members of management committee shall contravene the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance if they solicit or accept any advantage in relation to their official capacity.
# A manager or other professional trade or business firm or person retained and remunerated by the owners’ corporation and to carry out any of the duties or powers of the owners’ corporation under the Building Management Ordinance or the deed of mutual covenant (if any) pursuant to section 18(2)(c) of the Ordinance would be regarded as an agent.
"Advantage" includes money, gift, loan, fee, reward or commission, office, contract, service, favour, etc., but does not include entertainment. “Entertainment" means the provision of food or drink, for consumption on the occasion when it is provided, and of any other entertainment provided at the same time.
Although entertainment is not an advantage and is an acceptable form of social and business activity, agents of the owners’ corporation (such as members of management committee) should avoid accepting lavish or frequent entertainment from business associates of the owners’ corporation (e.g. consultants or contractors) so as not to put themselves in a position of obligation or affect their judgement which gives rise to the conflict of interest situations and violation of relevant laws.
Understanding the law and abiding by it is important in preventing one from breaking it. Under the OBB 2.0 and FSWS, the applicants have the opportunities to get in touch with public officers of various government departments and public bodies, who are processing applications and conducting inspections on completed works, etc. The applicants should not offer advantages to public officers in return for influencing their work. It is the duty of public officers to serve the general public and a simple “thank you” to them will do if their services are satisfactory. Never give tips or gifts to any public officers to avoid breaking the law inadvertently.