Car park company in rent lawsuit
A public car park operator is suing the government for failing to drop rents in the aftermath of the Sars crisis.
In a High Court writ filed yesterday, On Park Parking Ltd is also suing the government for misrepresentation because it says officials made available more land for public car spaces despite saying it would not do so.
The writ said On Park had been submitting tenders to the government for land lots designated as short-term tenancies to operate fee-paying public car parks since 1997.
On Park claimed that prior to submitting any tenders, it would ask the Lands Department about the future supply of land that might be offered to the market for use as fee-paying public car parks.
It said it asked the department about this issue again when it made preparations for tenders in August 2001, December 2001 and October 2002 for three lots in Kwai Chung.
'At all material times the Lands Department was well aware that the most important factor which may affect the tender price to be submitted by the plaintiff was the future supply of land for use as fee-paying car parks in that particular district of Hong Kong as revealed by the Lands Department,' the writ said.
The company relied on the government's word and submitted tenders which were successful.
The writ also said that the government had not followed its policy of granting rent concessions upon request if the tenant suffered loss due to 'general unfavourable economic climate, or an outbreak of epidemic disease causing a severe downturn in economic activities'.