Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

Proposal aims to make well-off Hong Kong tenants vacate public flats quickly

Proposal aims to make well-off Hong Kong tenants vacate public flats quickly

Tenants who exceed asset or income limits get a 12-month grace period to move out of their public rental flats and find homes in the private market.

Well-off tenants who rent public flats in Hong Kong may be given less time to move out under a proposal being considered by government housing advisers seeking to plug a loophole and speed up the turnover of homes.

Tenants who exceed asset or income limits currently receive a 12-month grace period to vacate their public rental flats and look for new homes in the private market. But the year-long period is seen by many as a loophole as tenants can transfer their wealth so they fall within the limits and then remain in their public flats.

A Housing Authority insider on Tuesday said most of the body’s members had raised concerns about the grace period at a brainstorming session last week, and expressed wishes to shorten the 12 months to plug the loophole.

The Housing Authority’s headquarters in Hong Kong.

“Many hope to prevent residents from taking advantage of the period to transfer their assets by tightening the grace period. It can avoid the abuse of public housing resources,” the source said, adding the government hoped to come up with a proposal for advisers by this month.

The authority’s session came a week after it banned public housing tenants who own a property from buying subsidised flats. The move came after it emerged that Kwong Kau, former father-in-law of slain model Abby Choi Tin-fung, had a HK$73 million (US$9.3 million) home in his name while listed as the owner of a subsidised flat.

Under the existing policy, households living in public rental flats for 10 years are required to declare their income and assets once every two years.

Public housing residents who own a flat or whose income and assets exceed the prevailing limits set for normal tenants by five times or 100 times, respectively, will be asked to move out.

For example, a four-person family will be asked to vacate a rental flat if their monthly income passes HK$154,750 or their net assets are valued at more than HK$3.1 million.

Those with housing needs may apply for a fixed-term licence to extend their stay for up to 12 months but they must pay market rent.

However, if their household income and assets fall under the cap during that year, they can apply for reassessment and submit documents and will no longer need to leave.

The authority last month said around 80 household tenants who were asked to leave had been allowed to stay in their flats for another 12 months.

Chan Hok-fung, a member of the Legislative Council’s housing panel, said the grace period should be no more than two to three months.

“The intention of the licence is to provide tenants with time to search for new homes. If the government gives them 12 months, they can sort out their assets. It is unreasonable,” Chan said.

Although the tightened measure might only result in a very limited number of flats being returned, Chan said, it would be fair to those in the queue for public housing, with the wait standing at 5½ years as of December.

Scott Leung Man-kwong, the panel’s deputy chairman, said he hoped the government could take it a step further by cancelling the reassessment mechanism.

Murder accused Kwong Kau was listed as the owner of a flat in Sheung Man Court.

Reassessment procedures could be handled by the housing appeal panel, Leung said, referring to the independent body that settles disputes between tenants and the authority.

“It is strange to see tenants suddenly falling back under the threshold. They can explain and the panel can decide. It can safeguard those who are truly facing difficulties, such as unemployment and emergency needs,” he said.

The authority last month banned tenants who are property owners or have been asked to vacate rental flats from buying subsidised homes.

Kwong, 65, was earlier found to have a 1,820 sq ft flat in the exclusive Kadoorie Hill neighbourhood in Ho Man Tin in his name in 2019. But he was also listed as the owner of a 291 sq ft subsidised flat at Sheung Man Court in Kwai Chung around a year later.

He and his two sons – one of them Choi’s ex-husband Alex Kwong Kong-chi – have been charged with the murder of the model, parts of whose body were found in a ground floor flat of a three-storey house in Tai Po’s Lung Mei Tsuen in February.


Related Articles

Hong Kong News
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.