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LCQ2: King Tai Court completed for intake and its building quality
     Following is a question by the Hon Wilson Or and a reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan Fan, in the Legislative Council today (October 18):
Question :

     The authorities have stipulated that tenants of public rental housing (“PRH”) are required to vacate and surrender their PRH flats within 60 days from the date of having acquired another form of subsidized housing; and tenants may apply for an extended stay of up to 30 days, but have to pay an occupation fee equivalent to three times of the normal rent for that period.  On the other hand, the authorities launched last year the first Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Pilot Scheme project, King Tai Court, for purchase by Green Form applicants.  It has been reported that King Tai Court has been completed for intake recently, and water seepage has been found on the walls and ceilings of a number of flats.  Renovation works for those flats have to be postponed pending completion of the rectification of the defects by the building contractor.  As a result, the owners concerned have difficulties in surrendering their PRH flats within the deadlines pursuant to the aforesaid stipulation.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of complaints about water seepage and other building quality problems in the flats of King Tai Court received by the Housing Department so far, as well as the number of such flats with rectification works completed;
(2) given that defects have been found in a number of flats in King Tai Court, whether the authorities will require the building contractor to extend the one-year warranty period for the housing estate; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(3) whether the authorities will extend the deadlines for surrendering the PRH flats by the owners concerned and waive their payment of the occupation fees?

     Thank you for Member's question.  My consolidated reply to the various parts of the question raised by the Hon Wilson Or is as follows:
     The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) launched the Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme (GSH) pilot project in San Po Kong - King Tai Court in October 2016.  All 857 flats of the project were sold.  From June 2017 onwards, flat buyers have gradually moved in.  Since then, HA has received Defects Report Forms submitted by individual flat owners.  Most of the reported items were minor or relating to surface stains.  The contractor has already completed the vast majority of the repair works of the reported items, which have also been inspected and accepted by the owners.  Repair works for the remaining small number of cases will be completed shortly.  Among the Defects Report Forms received, a total of seven flats were reported with minor water seepage at the external walls.  Upon receipt of the reports in late August 2017, the contractor immediately carried out remedial works at these flats.  Water tightness tests were also conducted at the external walls afterwards to ensure that the repair works were carried out properly.  All the relevant works were completed in early September 2017.
     Regarding the building warranty period, as set out in the terms of sales of King Tai Court, HA will provide a one-year liability warranty period for the residential property, fittings, finishes or appliances of King Tai Court.  In other words, should the flat owners identify defects to the fittings, finishes or appliances (except those caused by acts or negligence of the flat purchasers), HA will require the contractor to carry out remedial works.  The warranty period commences from the date of the completion of the sales and purchase of the residential property.  As mentioned above, since the seepage of individual flats and the items stated in the Defects Report Forms were minor, the warranty period will not be extended.
     As for the surrender of Public Rental Housing (PRH) units, PRH tenants who applied for the purchase of King Tai Court undertook that upon taking over the newly purchased flat, they would immediately submit a Notice-to-Quit to HA for terminating the tenancy agreement or fixed-term licence of their residing unit within 60 days, and return the unit in vacant possession to HA on or before the day the tenancy agreement or fixed-term licence is terminated.  If they are unable to return the unit within the specified period, they should submit an application to the Housing Department (HD) for an extension of stay up to 30 days in accordance with paragraph 3(a) of the Application Guide of King Tai Court.  If the extension is approved, they have to pay an occupation fee equal to three times the prevailing net rent or licence fee of the unit plus rates.

     As pointed out by the Chief Executive in the Policy Address, housing supply is currently in shortage and PRH is the safety net for the grassroots and low‑income families.  Against this background, we should strive to shorten the waiting time for PRH.

     In order to safeguard the rational use of PRH resources, HA has to recover the PRH units as soon as possible in accordance with the established mechanism, so as to allocate such units to applicants awaiting allocation.

     In accordance with the prevailing arrangements, PRH tenants are required to return their units within a maximum of 90 days after taking over their purchased flats.  Unless there are special circumstances with sufficient grounds for sympathetic considerations, HA normally would not consider allowing PRH tenants to further postpone the return of their units.

     Thank you President.
Ends/Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:05
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