Following is a question by the Hon Ambrose Cheung Wing-sum, and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Mr Dominic Wong, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):
Question: From 1959 to 1962, the Government granted land to the Hong Kong Settlers Housing Corporation Limited on concessionary terms at a price below the market level and offered loans to the Corporation for the construction of rental housing flats at Tai Hang Sai. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the ways in which Government monitors the Corporation in implementing and executing the relevant grant conditions;
(b) whether it has considered establishing a mechanism to monitor the management of Tai Hang Sai Village, given that the village is similar in nature to the public rental housing under Hong Kong Housing Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society;
(c) whether it has considered including Tai Hang Sai Village in redevelopment plans; if so, the details of them; if not, the reasons for that;
(d) whether there are organisations similar to the corporation in Hong Kong; and
(e) whether it has plans to grant land to private companies in the same manner for rental housing development in the future?
(a) In 1961, the Government granted a piece of land at concessionary premium to the Hong Kong Settlers Housing Corporation Limited for developing the present Tai Hang Sai Estate in order to rehouse tenants affected by clearance of the then Tai Hang Sai Resettlement Area. The land grant provides that the Corporation shall build on the land not less than 1600 flats for letting to persons with low income but shall not sell, assign or mortgage the land or any buildings thereon without the Government's consent. Accordingly, the Corporation constructed 1603 flats and let them out at rents below market levels to tenants with low income. The Government has no reason to suspect any breach of conditions of land grant. If there are, we will initiate investigation.
(b) The Executive Committee of the Corporation is fully empowered to manage and let the flats. The Government has no authority to establish a mechanism to monitor the Corporation's operations. Based on information provided by the Corporation, the level of rents currently charged is in line with those of public housing rental estates managed by the Hong Kong Housing Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society.
To improve the transparency and accountability of management, the Corporation has decided to introduce the following new measures :
(i) adoption of a set of eligibility criteria in allocating vacant flats similar to those of the Housing Authority's public rental flats;
(ii) setting up of an appeal panel to hear appeals lodged by tenants against termination of tenancy owing to breaches of tenancy agreements; and
(iii) establishment of an Estate Management Advisory Committee to improve communication between tenants and management.
(c) The Tai Hang Sai Estate has not been included in any redevelopment plan to be implemented by the Government.
(d) There are no organisations similar to the Corporation in Hong Kong.
(e) The Government has no plan to make similar land grants for rental housing development.
End/Wednesday, June 9, 1999