‘Well-off tenants’ under scrutiny in bid to tackle housing waiting lists

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2013, 3:13pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 January, 2013, 4:38pm

The government is reviewing the “well-off tenants” policy on public rental housing, to enable more young people to continue living with their ageing parents, the housing minister said on Wednesday morning.

Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, secretary for transport and housing, told lawmakers that the review – part of a larger policy re-evaluation on allocating public rental flats – was an effort to tackle the long waiting list, which has ballooned to more than 210,000 applicants.

When a household’s total income exceeds the limit for public housing, tenants must pay additional rent. But when assets exceed the income limit by 84 times, they are required to move out of the flat under the well-off tenants policy.

Two lawmakers told the minister that this had forced some young people to move away from their elderly parents once their income hit a certain level.

Leung Yiu-chung, of the Neighbourhood and Worker’s Service Centre, said: “These people may queue for a new rental unit again after being forced out of their parents’ home. This will not help to shorten the waiting list.”

He called for the relaxation of the well-off tenants policy, to allow such tenants to continue to live in the same flat as their parents.

The minister acknowledged that “there has to be a balance between care for the elderly and the efficient allocation of public resources.” A steering committee on the Long Term Housing Strategy was looking into the issue, he said.

“We will see under situation like this, if the children are willing to stay with their parents, what we can do with the well-off tenants policy,” Cheung added.