HA to launch review of domestic rent policy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 March, 2006, 12:00am

Updated at 5.40pm:
The Housing Authority (HA) said on Thursday it would launch a three-month public consultation on the review of its domestic rent policy - starting from Thursday.

HA chairman Michael Suen Ming-yeung told reporters the objective of the review was to 'establish a rent structure that is more rational and flexible, provides greater choice to tenants, and helps to promote the long-term sustainability of the public housing programme'.

Mr Suen was joined by Ng Shui-lai, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Review of Domestic Rent Policy, and other non-official members of the committee. They include Walter Chan Kar-lok, Chan Bing-woon, Wong Kwun and Lui Lai-bing.

The consultation paper sets out the initial findings of the Ad Hoc Committee.

'Amongst the most important reform proposals put forth is to establish a more transparent and well-defined index-linked mechanism to guide future rent adjustments, both upwards and downwards, based on movements in consumer price or tenants' household income,' Mr Suen explained.

The consultation paper also examines other issues important to the HA's domestic rent policy.

They include:

  • Alternative methods for measuring tenants' affordability;
  • possible measures to improve the methodology for assessing the median rent-to-income ratio (MRIR);
  • possible introduction of a system of differential rents based on floor levels, orientation and external views of the flats;
  • possibility of charging 'exclusive rents', i.e. net rents exclusive of rates and management fees;
  • feasibility of practising fixed-term tenancy; and
  • a rent review cycle.

Ad Hoc Committee chairman Ng Shui-lai, said: 'Tenant's affordability and long-term sustainability of the public rental housing programme are the two guiding principles that will continue to sit at the very heart of the review.'

During the three-month consultation, all 18 district councils will be consulted.

A limited resumption of regular land auctions for commercial or business sites is also being considered by the government in the face of rising rents and a shortage of grade-A office space.




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