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LCQ12: Monthly rental charges of parking spaces under The Link

     Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (January 28):


     I have received complaints from quite a number of public rental housing (PRH) tenants that The Link Management Limited (The Link) has, in recent years, repeatedly and substantially increased the monthly rentals of the parking spaces in its car parks in PRH estates, aggravating the burden on the PRH tenants renting those parking spaces. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it received complaints in the past three years from PRH tenants about the increase by The Link of the monthly rentals of its parking spaces; if it did, whether the authorities enquired with the company about the average annual increase in such monthly rentals and which car park registered the biggest increase in monthly rentals;

(2) whether it has studied if the monopolisation of the parking spaces in the districts concerned by The Link's car parks has enabled the company to substantially increase the monthly rentals of these parking spaces in recent years; if the study result confirms such a situation, of the solutions; and

(3) whether it has assessed the impact of The Link increasing the monthly rentals of its parking spaces on the PRH tenants who need to rent such parking spaces because of their work; if it has made such an assessment, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     To enable the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) to focus its efforts in fulfilling its mission to provide subsidised public housing, and to improve the HA's financial position in the short- to medium-term with proceeds from the divestment of facilities, the HA divested 180 properties, including car-parking facilities, through The Link Real Estate Investment Trust (The Link) in 2005. The Link has been a private entity since its listing on November 25, 2005. The Government and the HA do not hold any shares of The Link. The business direction and day-to-day operation of The Link are entirely independent of the Government and the HA. My overall reply to the Hon Albert Chan's question is as follows.

     As mentioned above, The Link has been a private entity since its listing in 2005, and is entirely independent of the Government and the HA. As a private property owner, The Link has the right to determine the rents of its properties, including the parking spaces in its car parks. The Government and the HA has no right to interfere. Hence, neither the Government nor the HA has obtained or maintained record of the rental information of The Link, including the average rate of increase in rental charges of its parking spaces and the rate of increase in rental charges of individual car parks. In addition, the HA does not collect any statistics of complaints from public rental housing (PRH) tenants about the increase of the monthly rental charges of parking spaces under The Link.

     However, in view of the Hon Chan's question, we have checked the public documents uploaded by The Link onto its website. According to the Interim Report of The Link for the six months ended September 30, 2014, the car park income per space per month in 2012, 2013 and 2014 were $1,338, $1,529 and $1,738 respectively.

     Although The Link is entitled to determine the rents of the parking spaces in its car parks just like other private property owners, The Link also has to comply with the relevant law and the provisions of the land leases. Unlike public car parks, generally speaking, the leases of the car parks of The Link in public housing estates contain conditions clearly stipulating that parking spaces should be restricted to the parking of vehicles by the residents and visitors of the lot concerned, and some land leases require spaces be provided for the parking of vehicles by the residents or visitors of other specified lots. Since the car-parking facilities of The Link are located in public housing estates, the target customers are mainly public housing residents. The Link has to consider the needs and affordability of its target customers when operating its car-parking facilities in order to maintain its business.

     The Government's policy on parking provision is to provide sufficient parking spaces to meet demand, but at a level which will not unduly attract potential passengers to opt for private cars in lieu of public transport. The Government has been providing suitable number of parking spaces to meet demand in different districts through various means, including- (i) requesting developers, through the terms in land leases, to provide suitable number of parking spaces for different types of vehicles in the developments having regard to the requirements of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines and the adjacent traffic and parking conditions; (ii) converting sites which have no immediate development plans into temporary car parks if necessary; and (iii) adding more on-street parking spaces at appropriate locations as long as road safety and other road users are not affected.

     Moreover, when divesting car-parking facilities through the listing of The Link in 2005, the HA retained car parks in about 110 public housing estates, Home Ownership Scheme courts, shopping centres and factory buildings. Some of these car parks are located in the vicinity of The Link's commercial facilities. New car-parking facilities have also been built by the HA since the listing of The Link. As at end of 2014, there are 130 car parks under the HA, providing a total of about 28 200 parking spaces.

Ends/Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Issued at HKT 12:51


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