Bill passed to ban overcharging water bill for subdivided flats
A bill tabled by Alice Mak Mei-kuen was passed in the Legislative Council, that regulates owners of the subdivided flat must charge tenants water bills according to guidelines set by the Water Supplies Department.
Breachers will be charged a fine of HK$10,000 under the bill.
Mak hoped that passing the bill could stop owners from overcharging glassroots families on their water bills and alleviate their pressure.
Yet, she pointed out that many owners will still manage to overcharge water bills in different ways. Mak urges owners to be a man of good consciousness, as many tenants are from glassroots families and small amounts of money can still cause great impact on them.
Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun said the government welcomed the bill as well, agreeing that the bill has a deterrent effect.
He pointed out that the Water Supplies Department will conduct operations more stringently and quickly follow complaints filed. Hotlines will also be set for citizens to report any overcharging situation.
Wong added that the bureau will strengthen promotion and remind the public on issues to be noted when paying water bills. The bureau will also encourage tenants to apply for an individual water meter.
Lawmakers including Vincent Cheng Wing-shun and Priscilla Leung Mei-fun backed the bill as well. Cheng said that it is unfair of owners to over charge water bills with tenants not knowing how much water they have actually used. Leung on the other hand suggested the government to increase housing supplies in the long run.