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LCQ22: Transfer exercises for public rental housing tenants

     Following is a question by the Hon James To and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (February 24):


     To improve the living environment of public rental housing (PRH) tenants, the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) implements the "Territory-wide Overcrowding Relief transfer exercises" twice a year and the "Living Space Improvement Transfer Scheme" once a year. PRH tenants with a living space below 5.5 square metres (sq m) and 7 sq m (calculated on the basis of internal floor area) per person may apply for transfer to larger flats under the two aforesaid transfer schemes respectively. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the respective numbers of applications received and approved by HA under the two aforesaid transfer schemes in the past three years; and the average magnitude of increase in the living space of the transferred tenants;

(2) whether HA will concurrently handle applications for transfer to larger flats submitted by overcrowded households and their applications for splitting tenancies; if HA will, of the number of such applications from tenants handled last year; if not, the reasons for that;

(3) of the respective numbers of PRH flats set aside by HA for transfer in various districts for flat allocation (i.e. Urban, Extended Urban and the Islands, as well as the New Territories) in each of the past three years; and

(4) whether HA will carry out appropriate conversion works for the relevant units before the tenants move in, so as to facilitate tenants with special needs, such as pregnant women, people with disabilities or patients with mental illnesses, in adapting to the new environment more readily?



     Subject to availability of housing resources, the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) currently conducts one Territory-wide Overcrowding Relief Transfer Scheme (TWOR) exercise and one Living Space Improvement Transfer Scheme (LSITS) exercise every year so that public rental housing (PRH) tenants with an internal floor area (IFA) below 5.5 square metres (sq m) per person and internal floor area below 7 sq m per person respectively will have chance to improve their living conditions. Eligible applicants under the two schemes will be invited for flat selection.

     The Housing Department (HD) will determine the order of priority for flat selection according to the living density of the applicants.  Household with the highest density will come first. If the living density of two households is the same, the household of a larger size will have priority. If both conditions are the same, the length of residence in the existing tenancy will determine the priority. If all conditions are the same, the order of priority will be determined by random generation of the computer. Currently, the number of overcrowded households (i.e. IFA below 5.5 sq m per person) has decreased from about 18 000 (about 3.1 per cent of the total PRH households) in 2001 to around 3 400 (about 0.46 per cent of total PRH households) as at end September 2015. This figure is lower than the prevailing Key Performance Indicator of HA, which was set at 0.55 per cent.

     My reply to the various parts of the question raised by the Hon James To is as follows:

(1) In the past three years, i.e. from 2012-13 to 2014-15, the number of eligible applicants and the number of successful transfer cases under the TWOR and the LSITS are attached in Annex 1.

     As at end March 2015, the average living area of PRH tenants is 13.1 sq m per person. Since successful tenants under the two transfer schemes selected their flats according to their number of authorised persons in the tenancy and the allocation standard, HD has not kept statistics regarding the average increase in living area for successful tenants under the two transfer schemes.

(2) The objective of the two transfer schemes is to improve the living condition of PRH tenants.  Each eligible applicant will have only one chance to select one flat in the flat selection exercise. For those PRH tenants who apply for household splitting on grounds of serious and deep-rooted disharmony among family members or other compassionate reasons, the relevant estate office will consider their applications on a case by case basis and, where necessary, refer them to relevant departments/organisations for assessment and recommendation. If the application for household splitting is approved, HD will arrange flat allocation to the tenant concerned according to the splitting policy rather than through the annual TWOR or LSITS exercise.

(3) In launching the above two transfer schemes, HD will strive to reserve flats of various sizes in each district for applicants' selection according to available resources at that time, the number of eligible applications, their household sizes and districts. For 2012-13 to 2014-15, the number of reserved flats in different districts for these two transfer schemes are attached in Annex 2.

(4) Information regarding the environment of the flats available for selection under the two transfer schemes will be provided for applicants' reference. For elderly and disabled applicants who have special needs and are recommended by the relevant organisations (such as the Social Welfare Department and the Hospital Authority), HD will provide flat conversion works according to their needs and bear the costs so incurred after they have selected their flats. If the request for flat conversion works is raised before or at the time of intake, HD will handle the works as soon as possible to facilitate the tenant to move in the flat. If necessary, the date of commencement of the tenancy will be postponed until the completion of conversion works. In addition, upon production of medical certificate, if the applicant or an authorised member of the tenancy has an expected child of at least 16 weeks gestation as at the date of application; require non-temporary indoor use of wheelchair; is a tetraplegic patient; a renal patient in need of continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis at home or a hyperactive patient, he/she will have one-grade-up in the calculation of household size and living density.

Ends/Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:10


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