Rules on flat 'splitting' obscure

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 August, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 August, 1998, 12:00am

The Housing Department is being inconsistent in its handling of requests for families who wish to split up and obtain an extra public flat, according to the Ombudsman.

Andrew So Kwok-wing partially substantiated a complaint from a public housing tenant who had been living with his nephew and who asked to be rehoused into two flats instead of one when their old estate was demolished.

Even though both uncle and nephew had wives, the Housing Department refused their request.

Mr So said it was right that 'splitting' requests were rarely granted because public housing was scarce. He did not criticise the Department for refusing the occupant's request.

However, he uncovered an almost identical request for splitting - on the same estate - that had been approved.

'That the complainant thought he had been unfairly treated and felt aggrieved is entirely understandable,' Mr So said, calling for the criteria for allowing families to split and acquire two flats to be published and a monitoring mechanism established.

A spokesman for the Housing Department accepted the Ombudsman's ruling and said a committee had been set up to look at the policy.

He said requests were normally only approved on 'medical or social grounds'.