Lawmaker Chan Kin-por in battle over management of private Cyberport estate

Critic of policy on owners' corporations is trying to prevent one at his housing estate

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 February, 2014, 11:23am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 February, 2014, 3:03am

Lawmaker Chan Kin-por, who has been a critic of the government's policy on owners' corporations, is now himself campaigning against the establishment of an owners' corporation at the estate where he lives.

Chan, who represents the insurance sector in the Legislative Council, is also the owners' committee chairman of Residence Bel-Air, a private estate with about 2,700 flats next to Cyberport in Pok Fu Lam.

An owners' corporation is an independent statutory body which can act legally on behalf of all flat owners in a building in managing the common parts of that building.

The government has been encouraging the establishment of owners' corporations, which it sees as an effective way to manage housing estates.

But Chan has criticised it for failing to inform owners of the risks and legal responsibilities involved, arguing that the system is prone to corruption and management disputes.

A group of flat owners at the Residence Bel-Air estate disagree, and want to set up an owners' corporation.

The group has recently gathered enough support from owners - whose shares in the properties add up to more than 5 per cent of the total - to convene a meeting on March 1, at which they will vote on the proposal.

Monica Leung Sui-wan, chairwoman of the concern group, said it was angry about the increase in expenditure related to the estate, and the quality of services there.

She said she hoped the campaign for an owners' corporation would improve transparency in the management of the property.

Chan said the existing owners' committee had studied the issue and believed the estate was unsuitable for management under an owners' corporation, because of its large size and the fact that many owners were investors who did not live there.

"With a nine-member management committee [the minimum size legally required], a consensus of just five people can form a majority to issue cheques," Chan said.

"This is prone to corruption and disputes."

The committee has been issuing letters and notices to owners lobbying them against setting up an owners' corporation.

But Leung said the estate was currently being mismanaged.

"The shuttle bus company has increased its charge on us this year, but cancelled one of the routes. A tree is damaged but there is not enough insurance to cover it. They put up these ugly lights, which make the estate look like a red light district at night.

"The owners' committee is not a statutory entity, and therefore lacks the power to control the management company," she added. "But with an owners' corporation, we can be directly involved in the setting of financial budgets."