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LCQ10: Water seepage problem in public rental housing units
     Following is a question by the Hon Ngan Man-yu and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Ms Winnie Ho, in the Legislative Council today (July 6):
     Quite a number of public rental housing (PRH) tenants in Kowloon East have relayed that the problem of water seepage has frequently occurred in their units. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the total number of complaints, enquiries and repair requests involving water seepage in PRH units in Kowloon East received by the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) in the past three years (with a breakdown by the PRH estates involved), as well as the percentage of such number in the total number of PRH units in Kowloon East;
(2) among the cases mentioned in (1):
(a) of the respective numbers of those which were successfully handled, which have not yet been handled, and which could not be handled (with a breakdown by PRH estates);
(b) of the respective numbers of cases (i) for which follow-up investigations by insurance companies and loss adjusters were required and (ii) in which the households concerned were successful in their claims after follow-up investigations, as well as the respective percentages of such numbers in the numbers of the relevant cases; and
(c) of the longest time taken for handling those cases the handling of which was completed and the reasons for that, as well as the average time taken for handling each case (set out by PRH estates); and
(3) whether HA has reviewed its work efficiency in handling water seepage cases, with a view to shortening the average time to be taken for handling such cases; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
     Our consolidated reply to the question raised by Hon Ngan Man-yu is as follows:
     There are a total of 30 public rental housing (PRH) estates with around 143 000 PRH units in Kowloon East region under the purview of the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA). In the past three years, there were about 4 000 cases of requests and complaints involving water seepage and another 1 800 cases involving repair works arising from HA's proactive in-flat inspections, making a total of around 5 800 repair cases. As a water seepage case may involve more than one PRH unit, we consider it not appropriate to compare the number of cases with that of the PRH units directly.
     HA has all along been highly concerned about water seepage problem in PRH units. In order to diagnose the cause of seepage effectively, HA has used different scientific equipment and methodologies, such as moisture metre, infra-red detector and fluorescent dye water test, and applied appropriate repair methods to abate the nuisance caused to affected tenants. If the source of water seepage is from the wall or floor, HA will generally re-lay the waterproofing layer to eradicate the water seepage problem. HA aims to arrange inspection within three working days upon receipt of a repair request and to complete the seepage repair within two months from the date of tenants' request.

     The time required for HA to handle each case depends on its complexity and other factors. For example, tenants may request to postpone the in-flat inspection and repair works, the severe epidemic situation may cause postponement to the repair works, complicated water seepage cases involving several PRH units or multiple water sources. If longer period of time is required to liaise with the tenants for arrangement of repair works or to find out the source of the water seepage, HA will keep close contact with the tenants concerned to understand their needs and provide appropriate assistance. At the same time, HA will also closely monitor the water seepage situation of those outstanding cases and take appropriate mitigation measures if required, such as chemical injection to minimise the impact on the affected tenants. In the past three years, the average time for completing the repair works of a water seepage case in PRH estates in Kowloon East region was about 16 days. Relevant information is at Annex. 
     HA has taken out public liability insurance to provide indemnity to HA and its staff for their legal liability to pay for third party property damage and/or injury arising out of their operation. All claims against HA are referred to the loss adjuster appointed by the liability insurer for independent investigation and follow-up. After the investigation, the loss adjuster will inform the claimant of the outcome in writing. If the claimant disagrees with the result, he/she can provide relevant evidence to the loss adjuster for review. In the past three years, there were eight claims related to water seepage for compensation lodged with HA in respect of the PRH estates in Kowloon East region, among which investigation of six claims were completed and no compensation was required to be paid.
Ends/Wednesday, July 6, 2022
Issued at HKT 12:26
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