House rules in the DMC

In Yuen Long Tin Shing Court (IO) v Wong Mau ([2013] HKEC 2021, LT) a flat owner was alleged to be keeping a dog in the flat in breach of the DMC. This problem was not resolved despite repeated requests to do so. The owners’ corporation sought, and was granted, an injunction to restrain the keeping of the dog. The Tribunal noted that the DMC’s prohibition on keeping dogs was in a schedule of the DMC that constituted the House Rules. This did not deprive it of its normal legal effect.

Michael Lower

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4 Responses to “House rules in the DMC”

  1. gogoy123 Says:

    In other words, even a schedule of a DMC has proper legal effect ?

    • Michael Lower Says:

      Yes. The fact that a rule is in a schedule labelled house rules does not necessarily imply that the provisions in that schedule have a lesser status. I think this must be the idea. The underlying reasoning is, I presume, that in every exercise of contractual interpretation one looks at all of the admissible evidence to discover the objective intention of the parties. The fact that a rule is in a schedule rather than being placed elsewhere in the body of the DMC will usually cast little or no light on the intention as to the interpretation of that rule.

  2. Ken Wong Says:

    In my estate, according to Clause 15 of the Sub-DMC (page39) provides that “ No Owner shall bring or keep in any Unit any dogs, cats, pets, live poultry or other animals which may be the subject of reasonable complaint from the other Owners Provided That this provision shall not apply to guide dogs required for blind persons.”

    The management company are of the view that dogs are allowed to be kept UNLESS the same has been the cause of reasonable complaint by the other owners.

    Is the management company’s view correct?

    • Michael Lower Says:

      The wording here is ambiguous isn’t it? The management’s interpretation seems to me a very reasonable possibility.
      Cases like Fully Profit (noted in this blog) show the approach that a court would take when interpreting this provision.

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