More buildings eligible for maintenance aid

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 April, 2011, 12:00am


Buildings without owners' corporations will be covered from today by grants and loans available for owners who want to maintain their property.

A one-stop service being launched by the Urban Renewal Authority and the Housing Society integrates seven assistance schemes aimed at buildings aged more than 20 years old that are offered by the two organisations and the government.

Among the changes, it extends the schemes for the first time to buildings without owners' corporations, which were previously excluded although they include some of the city's oldest and most dilapidated structures.

It will also streamline the often cumbersome application process and lower the threshold for subsidies to disabled owners to encourage more to apply.

The integrated service is expected to attract applications covering more than 600 buildings, resulting in about HK$250 million in grants and loans each year.

The seven schemes target different districts and owners with special needs, granting subsidies, low-interest loans and interest-free loans.

Due to the separate operations, some owners have had to go through three different agencies and long application processes to get assistance.

Urban Renewal Authority director Stephen Lam Wai-nang said applications from buildings without owners' corporations would be accepted as long as owners reached consensus to maintain common areas of the building and the work was allowed under the Deeds of Mutual Covenant.

Disabled owners, who have to undergo a stringent means test to obtain subsidies, will have their asset ceiling lowered from HK$23,000 to HK$17,700. The repayment period for loans to maintain flats has been lengthened from three years to five years.