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LCQ7: Tenants Purchase Scheme

     Following is a question by the Hon Lau Kong-wah and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, in the Legislative Council today (February 29):


     At present, many tenants of Tenants Purchase Scheme (TPS) estates indicate that they still wish to purchase the public rental housing (PRH) flats in which they have been living for years.  Under the current policy, the special credits given to the sitting tenants of TPS estates purchasing their flats are only applicable to those who purchase their flats within two years from commencement of the tenancy, while those who purchase their flats in the third year or thereafter are not entitled to such credits.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the total number of tenants of TPS estates who had purchased their flats as at December 2011; among them, of the respective number of tenants who were given a full credit, a halved credit as well as no credit at all;

(b) whether the authorities will consider amending the current policy by relaxing the aforesaid restrictions on special credits to enable tenants who have rented their flats for over two years to enjoy such credits when they purchase their flats; if not, of the reasons for that; and

(c) given that the authorities terminated TPS after launching TPS Phase 6B in 2005-2006, but many PRH tenants still wish to purchase their residing PRH flats, whether the authorities will reconsider launching a new phase of TPS; if not, of the reasons for that?



     The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) introduced the Tenants Purchase Scheme (TPS) in 1998 to enable public rental housing (PRH) tenants to buy their flats at discounted prices, thereby helping to achieve the then policy objective of attaining a home ownership rate of 70% in 10 years' time.

     In 2002, the Government re-positioned the housing policy and decided to continue with the provision of PRH to low-income families who cannot afford private rental accommodation, with a target of maintaining the average waiting time (AWT) for general Waiting List (WL) applicants at around three years.  The target home ownership rate was dropped. Thus the HA decided to halt the TPS after the launch of phase 6B in 2005.

     My answer to the three-part question is as follows:

(a) and (b) Under the HA's policy, a special credit will be offered to tenants of TPS estates purchasing their flats within the first two years of the launch of the sale of the flats, and to new tenants who purchase their flats within two years from the commencement of their tenancies.  Full credit will be offered to tenants purchasing their flats in the first year, and a halved credit for those purchasing their flats during the second year.  This is a long-standing policy and is widely understood by the tenants.  We have no plan to amend this policy at this stage.

     As at the end of December 2011, a total of around 119 800 tenants have purchased their flats under the TPS.  Of which, about 114 500 tenants purchased the flats with full special credit, about 1 000 tenants with a halved credit and about 4 300 tenants with no special credit.

(c) Recovered PRH flats are an important source of supply for WL applicants.  PRH flats, once sold to the tenants, cannot be reallocated, thereby affecting the turnover and supply of PRH flats and undermining the HA's ability to maintain the AWT for general WL applicants at around three years.  There are currently over 165 000 WL applications for PRH.  Any measure that affects PRH allocation by the HA to WL applicants is undesirable.

     Moreover, since the introduction of the TPS, the HA has encountered many problems with the management of PRH flats in TPS estates.  The HA's estate management policies cannot be fully implemented in the TPS estates.  This is an unsatisfactory situation.  For example, the Marking Scheme for Estate Management Enforcement in Public Housing Estates is not implemented in the common areas of the TPS estates at present.  The HA can only deal with the misdeeds committed in rental flats.
     In view of the above reasons, we do not intend to re-launch the TPS.  That said, under the current policy, the sitting tenants of the TPS estates can still opt to buy the flats in which they are residing.  PRH residents interested in home ownership may also buy TPS flats and the Home Ownership Scheme flats on the Secondary Market where the premium of flats has not yet been paid.

Ends/Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Issued at HKT 12:04


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