Weekly review: 12th – 16th September

Building Management Ordinance and the duty to put bids out to tender

Section 20A(2) of the Building Management Ordinance requires certain bids to be put out to tender. This is a mandatory requirement and not merely for guidance (Wong Tak Keung v Management Committee of the Incorporated Owners of Grenville House).

Commorientes

There is a presumption that where co-owners die and there is uncertainty as to the order of death the younger survived the elder. This only applies in the absence of evidence as to the actual order of deaths (Tang Kam Yuen v Cheung Wing Kin).

Fixtures

Whether items attached to land (such as household fittings and appliances) are fixtures or chattels depends on the presence or absence of an objective intention that they should be a permanent feature of the realty; the degree and purpose of annexation tests are guides. In Botham v TSB Bank plc Roch LJ took this appoach. He offered five indicators as to whether items were likely to be fixtures or chattels.

House

When a  lease or other written instrument used the word ‘house’ its meaning is that intended by the parties. This intention can be gathered by looking at the word in the context of the instrument as a whole and the factual matrix (Fully Profit (Asia) Ltd v Secretary for Justice). 

Owners’ meeting

The owners of shares in a multi-ownership building have agreed to be bound by its governance structures. Thus, they have agreed that certain decisions will be passed by a simple majority at an owners’ meeting. The owners are entitled to vote as they see fit (selfishly if they like) provided that what is approved is lawful, within the terms of the DMC and does not amount to an oppression of the minority (Grande Properties Management Ltd v Sun Wah Manufactory Ltd).

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