Public housing noise complaints hit 2,400

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 June, 2007, 12:00am

An average of 6,000 complaints of nuisances caused by public housing tenants are received each year - and last year 2,400 were related to noise.

This was disclosed by the housing chief yesterday in response to a legislator's question.

More than 50 cases were caused by suspected psychiatric patients, Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung said in a written reply.

But he said the Housing Department had no plans to recruit social workers to handle these cases.

'The cases involving psychiatric patients were referred to the Social Welfare Department for follow-up action,' he wrote.

'The Housing Department would handle such cases carefully and liaise closely with the Social Welfare Department. The existing mechanism is operating effectively.'

After noise nuisance was included under the marking scheme this year, where a tenancy will be terminated if 16 points are accumulated, 2,400 complaints were received.

Mr Suen said most cases were minor and could be resolved by giving the offending tenants a verbal warning.

But 12 cases required warning letters to be issued or points to be allotted, he said.

Housing Authority member Wong Kwun said noise problems in public housing had not worsened recently, but the high density of the tenant population meant they would be more common than in private buildings.

He said the Housing Department should consider acting on noise complaints more promptly once they were alerted to a noise grievance.

'The present situation is that when the investigative officers check on the flat being complained about, the household is no longer making any noise, which makes the successful prosecution number very low,' he said.

Mr Wong also said the Housing Department should more closely monitor the flats attracting frequent noise complaints to make sure they were not disturbing the neighbourhood.