Renovation forced on tenants told to get out

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 May, 2006, 12:00am

Residents say noisy work should be put off until after their deadline to leave

Residents of a Tsim Sha Tsui building have cried foul after their landlords asked them to leave by December, and then announced they would start noisy renovations in the next seven months.

Late last year, tenants of more than 30 units in Bo Yip Building on Ashley Road received notices that they had to vacate their premises by the end of this year. Last month, landlord Long Faith Investments put up notices saying renovations would start this month and last until the end of December.

More than half of the residents have signed a petition demanding that Long Faith and the building's management, Jones Lang LaSalle, halt the renovation plans until after they have moved out.

Some tenants say they are being kicked out to make way for a plan to turn building units into serviced apartments, but Jones Lang LaSalle would not confirm this.

Ashwin Kumar, who has leased two flats for his family of five for a total of $25,000 a month since 1979 and 1984, said he was surprised that Long Faith could be so unfair.

'Before we spent $200,000 two years ago to renovate the two flats, we asked the landlord and their management company if we could continue to live here, and they said yes. So we went ahead,' he said.

'Now all this money is wasted and we will have to endure many months of noise and dust before we can find a new home. Some tenants are not in Hong Kong at the moment. If they were here, I am sure 100 per cent of the tenants would oppose the renovation plan.'

Henry Yuen, 83, has lived in the building for 35 years.

'I am old and I don't want to move, but I have no choice,' he said.

Long Faith's renovation notice states:

'During the work period, bamboo scaffolding will be erected in such a way as to enclose the external walls of the building.

'To facilitate the renovation work, some preliminary works have to be carried out commencing from May 2, including dismantling work for existing interior partition walls and finishes. Noise and dust will be inevitably generated.'

The tenants of at least 16 units have signed a letter of objection, sent to Long Faith on April 20.

'Most of us have been living in the building for 20 to 30 years and we think the management should have at least some goodwill and consideration for our interests,' the letter reads. 'Since you have decided that we have to leave our homes, at least let us live peacefully until we have to move out.'

Jones Lang LaSalle said its client Long Faith was reviewing the tenants' complaint.

'We have informed the landlord accordingly, and the matter is being reviewed,' it said. 'The landlord will take the initiative to communicate with the occupiers to understand their concerns and work together to resolve the situation.'