Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Thursday, Feb 09, 2023

First Hong Kong landlord fined under new law to protect subdivided-flat tenants

First Hong Kong landlord fined under new law to protect subdivided-flat tenants

Landlord fined HK$6,600 in total for six offences linked to water and electricity charges and one in relation to rent.
A Hong Kong landlord has been fined for violating a new law introduced to protect tenants of subdivided flats from excessive rent increases and overcharging for utilities, the first such conviction since the legislation took effect in January.

The landlord pleaded guilty on Friday at Eastern Court, and was fined HK$6,600 (US$850) in total for six offences related to water and electricity charges and one in relation to rent.

According to the authorities, the landlord failed to produce copies of the bills and provide an account in writing when requiring the tenant to pay their share of water and electricity charges. The landlord also failed to provide a rent receipt.

The Rating and Valuation Department conducted an investigation after receiving a complaint about the landlord in mid-May.

The Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance came into force on January 22. Under the law, when a tenant is required to pay for utilities and services separately from the rent, the landlord must produce copies of the relevant bills and provide an account in writing showing how the amounts are apportioned.

Non-compliance carries a maximum fine of HK$10,000 on a first conviction and HK$25,000 on subsequent ones.

A landlord who fails to provide a tenant with a rent receipt within seven days of collection of the payment faces a fine of HK$2,000.

A department spokesman said he hoped this first conviction would send a strong message to landlords of subdivided units, and reminded tenants of their rights.

He also appealed to the public to come forward and promptly report any suspected cases of contravening the relevant requirements.

According to a Transport and Housing Bureau report last year, an estimated 110,008 subdivided units housed 226,340 people, or about 3 per cent of the city’s 7.5 million population.

Sze Lai-shan, deputy director of the Society for Community Organisation, said the conviction would send out a signal to the public that authorities had been enforcing the law and those who broke it would be held accountable, but she added the punishment was too lenient.

“The penalty was too light and lacked deterrent power,” she said, calling for heavier punishments.

Sze said despite the new law, many subdivided flat tenancies remained largely unregulated, with renters not provided with a lease agreement or utility bills, or overcharged for water and electricity.

“Some tenants were either not aware of the law or were too afraid of speaking up for fear of being kicked out of their places by landlords,” she said, urging authorities to strengthen enforcement of the law.

Kenny Ng Kwan-lim, a member of the Kwai Chung Subdivided Flat Residents Alliance, welcomed the conviction, but also said it reflected a lack of law enforcement given there had only been one case while there were hundreds of thousands of subdivided flats.

He called on the government to step up its inspections, review the penalties to boost deterrence, as well as enhance the promotion and publicity of the new law to raise awareness.

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Today's news from Britain - 9th February 2023
China has declined the US's request for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to speak with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe after the US Air Force shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, according to the Pentagon
The five largest oil companies in the West generated combined profits of nearly $200 billion in 2022, which has led to increased calls for governments to impose tougher windfall taxes
2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
Hong Kong airlines taking bold action after the years of pandemic lockdown and travel restrictions, to make Hong Kong great again
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo