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LCQ18: Property management of Yan On Estate

     Following is a question by the Hon Leung Kwok-hung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, in the Legislative Council today (June 29):


     I have received complaints one after another from the first batch of residents who moved into Yan On Estate ("the Estate") in Ma On Shan in May this year, indicating that when they moved into the Estate, the property management services contractor ("the contractor") of the Housing Department ("HD") collected excessive charges from them, and that the facilities and shops in the Estate were not yet open, and the car park was misused by the staff members of the contractor, thus causing great inconvenience to them.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total number of residents who will reside in the Estate upon its formal occupation date in July this year; the number of shops that will open in the Estate by then and the types of business operated by these shops;

(b) whether it has carried out an assessment to ensure that shops in the Estate will have started operation when the residents move in; if it has, of the reasons why no shop is open at present; if not, how it can ensure that the needs of the residents are not neglected as a result;

(c) given that among the aforesaid residents, some Comprehensive Social Security Assistance ("CSSA") recipients, elderly people and people with disabilities indicated that the contractor required them to first settle a debris removal charge ("DRC") before it would assist them in signing their tenancy agreement and making arrangements to move in, and even though some residents signed a declaration stating that they would not renovate their flats, the contractor still requested them to pay DRC first, whether such practice is in compliance with the Government's existing requirements; if so, of the reasons for not stipulating such a charge in the "offer letters" issued to the residents in respect of the allocation of public rental housing flats; if not, whether HD has followed up the collection of excessive charges by the contractor and has immediately assisted those residents who have signed a declaration or who will not renovate their flats by demanding the contractor to refund DRC to them, as well as ordered it to stop collecting such a charge;

(d) given that the aforesaid residents indicated that when residents who are CSSA recipients moved into the Estate, the contractor requested them to pay a deposit with their CSSA payment first and refused to give them any immediate remission, thereby causing difficulties in their livelihood, whether the Government has assessed if such an arrangement is tantamount to a reduction of money for meeting these CSSA recipients' living expenses, and whether the Government will immediately rectify this wrongful arrangement and immediately return the deposits to such CSSA recipients;

(e) when the car park of the Estate will open for use by the residents; and whether the Government has procured "third party risks insurance of building" for the car park before it is formally open for use;

(f) whether the Government has found out if there are private vehicles parking in the car park before it is open for use by the residents; and whether such vehicles belong to the staff of the contractor and whether they have paid the parking fee;

(g) whether the Government will immediately install additional traffic lights at road junctions of the Estate so as to enable residents to go safely to the petrol stations nearby for shopping or to the parks for doing exercise; if it will, when it will implement this proposal; if not, of the reasons for that; and

(h) whether the Government will immediately request the relevant franchised bus companies to increase the number of bus routes running via the Estate, so as to facilitate the residents to travel from and to the Estate; if it will, when it will make the request; if not, of the reasons for that?



     Property Services Agents (PSA) undertaking the estate management work of the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA)'s public rental housing (PRH) estates should strictly comply with the terms of the management contracts entered into with the HA when performing their duties.  The Housing Department (HD) monitors their overall works performance and standard closely to ensure that quality management services are provided to PRH residents.

     My reply to the eight-part question is as follows:

(a) The official intake of Yan On Estate in Ma On Shan which provides a total of 2 587 PRH units for about 6 800 residents will take place in July 2011.  In the said Estate, there are three shops suitable for trades such as convenience store, cafe and food/grocery shop.

(b) The HA has leased two shops in Yan On Estate for the operation of convenience store and food/grocery shop.  It is anticipated that the shops will commence operation in around this August.  The HA is also inviting tenders for another shop in the Estate which is suitable for the operation of a cafe.  

     In addition, there is a shopping centre in the nearby Heng On Estate that provides residents of Yan On Estate with a wide range of services such as food and beverage services, retail services, bank, post office, clinic, market, etc.

(c) Pursuant to the property management contract, PSA is permitted to charge new tenants the Debris Removal Charges (DRC) according to the flat size.  The obligation of DRC payment and its amount has been clearly set out in the Decoration Handbook, Intake Notification Letter and Notes on Intake provided by the Housing Department (HD) to prospective tenants prior to intake.  The PSA would also brief prospective tenants of the matters pertaining to collection of DRC during intake briefing sessions.

     If new tenants are elderly households (households with all members aged 60 or above), recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) offered by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) (either the tenant or the tenant and all/some members of the household), or himself/any household member is disabled, they can apply to the HD for exemption of DRC during the intake.

     For tenants who declare that no fitting-out works will be carried out, PSA would conduct flat inspection within three months after the execution of tenancy agreement and arrange for the refund of the DRC within one month after its inspection.  For individual tenants who are eligible for the exemption at the time of intake but did not apply for exemption during intake and indeed have paid the DRC, the HD would arrange for the refund upon receipt of the exemption application as soon as possible.

(d) Under the prevailing policy, prospective tenants who are CSSA recipients (either the tenant or the tenant and all/some members of the household) can apply for exemption of the payment of rent deposit during intake provided that the SWD does not pay for the deposit.  For individual tenants who are eligible for the exemption at the time of intake but did not apply for the exemption during intake and indeed have paid the deposit, the HD would arrange for the refund upon receipt of the exemption application as soon as possible.

(e) Yan On Estate carpark is scheduled for opening for use by residents in around this July.  The HA has procured public liability insurance coverage for the carpark.

(f) The construction of Yan On Estate was completed in end May 2011.  The contractors' site staff members are required to follow up with the rectifications and repairs and thus have their cars parked in the Yan On Estate carpark to facilitate their works.  Parking fees are not charged for those duty-related vehicles parked in the carpark.  However, the HD will step up checks of the carpark to prevent any abuse cases.

(g) At the north-east corner of Yan On Estate where Hang Tai Road joins Hang Fai Street, there is already a pedestrian crossing facilitating residents of Yan On Estate traveling to the nearby Heng On Estate and park.  Traffic signs and road markings are provided at the said pedestrian crossing to alert motorists to drive slowly and beware of the pedestrians.  The signs will also alert pedestrians to the direction of the approaching traffic and to carefully cross the road.  A large pedestrian island is in place in Hang Fai Street to facilitate pedestrians to conveniently cross the road.

     Taking into account the traffic condition at the road section and the existing pedestrian crossing facilities, the Transport Department (TD) has no plan to signalise the crossing at the location.

(h) The TD has arranged appropriate public transport services for Yan On Estate, including two franchised bus routes and one green minibus route passing through the Estate, to facilitate residents traveling to the New Territories and Kowloon.  The TD will closely monitor the number of passengers of the franchised bus routes and green minibus route concerned after the official intake of Yan On Estate, and will review the public transport services depending on the actual situation.

Ends/Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Issued at HKT 14:38


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