- The Land Registry has pledged to provide secure, customer friendly land information services. To improve the user-friendliness of the land search service, property addresses in Chinese will be added to the Land Register. This will also help the legal profession to realize the benefits of their long time commitment in promoting the implementation of a bilingual legal system. Following consultation with parties in 1999 requiring the Chinese property address to be given in the memorial form when known, a provision was included in the Land Registration (Amendment) Ordinance. The Ordinance was passed by the Legislative Council in July 2002. The provision on specifying the Chinese address in memorial forms came into effect when the department's Integrated Registration Information System (IRIS) was put into production in February 2005. This paper provides legal practitioners with guidelines as to authoritative reference on Chinese addresses that they can refer to for the purpose of completing the memorial forms.
2. The Rate Demand as an authoritative reference for completing memorial forms
- Under the provisions of the Amendment Ordinance, subparagraph (d) of paragraph (1) and subparagraph (e) of paragraph (2) of Regulation 6 of the Land Registration Regulations are amended by adding "(including the address in the Chinese language if known)" at the end of each of the subparagraphs.
- The Rating and Valuation Department has compiled a bilingual Valuation List/Government Rent Roll by conducting an exercise to convert the English description of every property to Chinese. The bilingual Valuation List/Government Rent Roll and the Rate Demands with Chinese addresses have been issued to the ratepayers. The Chinese addresses established by the Rating and Valuation Department is updated and reliable. For the purpose of completion of memorials for registration, we consider the bilingual Rate Demand a convenient and authoritative reference of the Chinese address of a property.
3. Handling of special cases
- Despite the easy availability of the Rate Demands, we understand that establishing a reliable address in Chinese for land registration purpose may not always be possible. Hence the lodging party of a document is only required to provide the Chinese description where practicable.
- If the lodging party finds it difficult to establish a certain Chinese address and considers it a doubtful case, he is not required to provide any information on the Chinese address in the memorial. It is optional for him to insert a note 'Chinese address not known' in the memorial.
- If a Chinese address specified in the memorial conflicts with other descriptions previously established, for example, the Chinese addresses recorded on the Land Register of other premises on the same lot or the descriptions adopted in previously registered instruments, the Land Registry will seek clarification from the lodging solicitors so that we can proceed with the registration appropriately against the proper land register of the property concerned. If it cannot be satisfactorily ascertained, the doubtful description will be removed and the note "Chinese address not known" placed in the memorial instead. Generally speaking, these clarifications may not have fee implication. However, a mistake arising from failure to check available records will be subject to payment of a disincentive fee. For example, a disincentive fee will be payable in case of a discrepancy between the Chinese address already shown on the register and the one specified in the new memorial.
4. Updating of Chinese property addresses shown on the Land Register
- The Land Registry will usually update the address information of the Land Register upon registration of instruments. A note "Chinese address not known" will be shown in the Chinese address field of a land register with English address if the particulars are not available or if there is any uncertainty. For new property developments, a bilingual property schedule supplied in advance would speed up the updating process.
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