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LCQ14: Conditions of the housing estates and courts under the Hong Kong Housing Society

     Following is a question by the Hon Wong Kwok-hing and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (June 26):


     There are currently 20 rental housing estates under the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) and 10 Flat-For-Sale Schemes (sold housing courts) launched by it, providing over 100 000 grass-roots and low-income members of the public with the options of renting and purchasing flats.  However, some members of the public have pointed out that as the buildings in a number of housing estates/courts are over 50 years old, their appearance and interior have become old and dilapidated.  Improvement to the living environment of the residents will indeed rely on HKHS carrying out repair works for and redeveloping such housing estates/courts.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council if it knows:

(a) the respective dates of large-scale inspections on the building conditions and repair works carried out by HKHS in the past five years for its various rental housing estates and sold housing courts whose maintenance periods have not yet expired, as well as the types of works and the costs involved (set out in table form); of the numbers of various kinds of complaints received from the residents during the same period and how they had been followed up;

(b) according to the results of the proactive inspections conducted by HKHS in the past five years, (i) whether the sold housing courts mentioned in (a) were found to have problems similar to those found in Healthy Village Redevelopment Phase II, e.g. debonded mosaic tiles falling off the exterior of the buildings and in their lift lobbies one after another; (ii) whether the rental housing estates under HKHS were found to have structural problems similar to those found in Wah Fu Estate under the Hong Kong Housing Authority, e.g. serious problems of concrete spalling and exposed bar tendons, etc. in the building interior, so that major structural overhauls of their exterior walls and interior are needed; if so, of a list of the housing estates/courts involved and the building conditions identified, as well as the number of proactive inspections conducted by HKHS staff in each of the past five years;

(c) as some residents of the rental housing estates have relayed that the living environment of the housing estates which have been built for nearly 50 years, including Yue Kwong Chuen and Healthy Village Phase III, is so appalled that they have requested HKHS to redevelop such estates and assist them in moving to other estates, whether HKHS has any plan to redevelop these aged estates; if it has, of the timetable for redeveloping the housing estates and rehousing the residents; if not, whether it will commence within the coming five years a study on the redevelopment of such housing estates; if it will, of the detailed timetable;

(d) as some minority flat owners have expressed strong dissatisfaction at the arrangement for the repair and maintenance of buildings in sold housing courts, e.g. the strong reproach from the flat owners in Healthy Village Redevelopment Phase II on HKHS for dragging on the repair works for the mosaic tiles on the external walls of buildings and shirking its responsibility after the maintenance periods have expired, of the respective lists of sold housing courts whose maintenance periods have expired and those whose maintenance periods have not yet expired at present; of the sold housing courts for which HKHS has conducted repair works in the past 10 years, as well as the works and the costs involved; and  

(e) given that the flat owners of sold housing estates are generally low-income people or retirees, of the types of assistance provided by HKHS to help minority flat owners who are old and in financial difficulty cope with the economic pressure arising from paying for the repair and maintenance expenses when repair works need to be conducted in housing courts whose maintenance periods have expired; whether HKHS has any plan at present to enhance and extend the maintenance period of sold housing courts so as to assist flat owners who are grass-roots or low-income people?



     We have consulted the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) on the question raised by the Honourable Wong Kwok-hing.  The responses provided by the HKHS are as follows:

(a) HKHS is responsible for the maintenance of its 20 subsidised rental estates which comprise 33 000 rental units.  A comprehensive inspection will be conducted for every rental estate on an annual basis to identify major maintenance and improvement works required, and the works will be carried out in stages.  In the past five years, the works carried out in the estates include: repair and renovation of external wall, re-roofing & waterproofing works, plumbing & drainage works, provision of barrier-free access, estate road repaving, improvement of fire services system, electricity upgrading, installation of new lifts and slope maintenance, etc.  A total of about $830 million has been spent on these works.  Details are set out at Annex A.

     As far as the Flat-for-sale Scheme (FFSS) is concerned, the relevant properties have already been sold to individual owners.  As the property manager, HKHS has to discuss with the Owners' Committees or the Owners' Corporations in formulating maintenance and improvement works of larger scale.  The situation of the estates varies from one to another.  Generally speaking, during the estate's defects liability period (DLP), HKHS will liaise with the contractor to follow up with any maintenance issue.  HKHS has had no new subsidised project completed for sale over the past five years.

     In the past ten years, various types of daily repair and maintenance works have taken place in the subsidised sales projects under FFSS, including pump replacement, replacement of paving blocks, lift modernisation, replacement of water supply pipes and improvement of lighting fittings, etc.  There have been three major maintenance works, which were carried out in Clague Garden Estate, Healthy Village Redevelopment Phase I and Healthy Village Redevelopment II respectively.  The costs were borne by the flat owners.  Details of these major works are at Annex B.  All along, HKHS has been in close touch with flat owners.  HKHS has not recorded the number of comments / complaints received.

(b) HKHS has been closely monitoring the conditions of its rental estates.  There are no structural problems similar to those mentioned in the question in HKHS rental estates.  For FFSS projects, HKHS has been in close touch with flat owners.  Details of the major maintenance works carried out in the past ten years have been provided in Annex B.

(c) There are 20 rental estates under HKHS, some of which were completed as early as in the 1960s.  In order to enhance the living environment, improve the tenants' living quality, to make more effective use of land resources and increase the number of rental units, HKHS will, in addition to refurbishment and maintenance of the estate facilities, consider redeveloping some of the estates.  An example is the redevelopment of Ming Wah Dai Ha in Shau Kei Wan.

     HKHS reviews the redevelopment priority of its rental estates and the future redevelopment plan from time to time.  HKHS will take into account the decantation arrangement for tenants, the conditions of the estates and their facilities, resource implications on HKHS, feasibility of the redevelopment, etc in carrying out the review.  HKHS will announce the redevelopment project to be carried out in a timely manner when the redevelopment plan is finalised.

(d) As far as the maintenance of projects under the FFSS is concerned, HKHS will fulfill its maintenance responsibility in accordance with the DLP as stipulated in the relevant agreements for sale and purchase.  For reported defects within the DLP, HKHS will refer them to the contractors for follow-up.  After the expiry of the DLP, the owners will have to be responsible for fixing the building defects.  Such a practice is in fact the same as any other private developments.  The DLP of all FFSS estates have expired as at today.

     Regarding the case of Health Village Redevelopment (Phase II), the estate has been completed for over 15 years and the DLP concerned expired in September 1998.  Following the reports on the conditions of the external wall received from the residents, HKHS immediately requested the project consultant to produce a report, and was advised that the scattered de-bonded wall tiles was due to time and external factors which was regarded as a normal occurrence in view of the age of the buildings.  That said, HKHS had proposed to the owners to jointly appoint an independent professional consultant to carry out investigation and assessment on the incident, so as to determine the conditions of the external wall tiles and the responsibility to repair.  Subject to the investigation and assessment being agreeable to both parties, HKHS would, in accordance with the consultant's report, take follow-up action if so required.

     The major maintenance works carried out in the past ten years in respect of FFSS projects as well as the expenses incurred have been listed out in Annex B.

(e) HKHS will be responsible for maintaining the development during the DLP as stipulated in the agreements for sale and purchase.  After the expiry of DLP, the owners will be responsible for the maintenance.  Those who are in need of assistance may participate in the Integrated Building Maintenance Assistance Scheme (IBMAS) jointly implemented by HKHS and the Urban Renewal Authority since April 2011.  Under IBMAS, the "Common Area Repair Works Subsidy / Interest-free Loan", "Home Renovation Interest-free Loan" and "Building Maintenance Grant Scheme for Elderly Owners" (government funded and administrated by HKHS) may provide financial assistance (including subsidy / loan) to eligible property owners for building maintenance works in respect of common areas or individual units.

Ends/Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Issued at HKT 13:09


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