HOS rental scheme proposed to fill flats

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 September, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 September, 2002, 12:00am

Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flats should be offered for rent to families on the public housing waiting list who can afford it, says Housing Authority member Chan Kam-lam.

Those who choose to rent HOS flats should have their tenancies reviewed every three to five years, and should be allowed to buy if they wanted to, he said yesterday.

This could be a way of filling up the units because many of them stood empty after the government restricted the sale of HOS flats to boost private market prices, Mr Chan said.

Last September the government imposed a sales ban on HOS flats for 10 months. Sales resumed in July but attracted only 5,000-odd applications for the 2,400 units on offer - the poorest response since the scheme began in 1978. Mr Chan, speaking on RTHK's Partyline, said: 'We can devise a new scheme to rent out the HOS flats to those who can afford it, with a fixed tenancy like three years or five years. After that, the tenancy can be renewed if the tenants do not want to buy.'

Authority member Wong Kwan backed the idea and said rents for the HOS flats could be set higher than those of normal public housing. But he proposed targeting a special income group instead of those on the waiting list.

Some property tycoons have urged the government to sell HOS flats to private developers.

Another option is to sell them to the Urban Renewal Authority to rehouse people evicted from homes earmarked for redevelopment, but that idea was rejected by the renewal body.