Owners of unsafe flats to get compensation offer

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 February, 2014, 4:20am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 February, 2014, 5:05pm

Flat owners of four structurally dangerous tenements in To Kwa Wan will get offers next week to sell their properties at HK$10,968 per square foot to the Urban Renewal Authority.

Among them are owners evicted from the worst of the four buildings on Kai Ming Street, a 56-year-old block where the balconies were about to give way when the Buildings Department stepped in with a court-issued closure order in August.

The price was based on advice from surveyors and is equivalent in value to seven-year-old flats in the district, the authority said.

Extra help would be extended to more than 10 families living in extremely small cubicles, of less than 200 sq ft, that were legally created, it said.

"They will be given more assistance, as the offers to them would be too small to buy a flat," a spokesman for the authority said yesterday.

"For example, it could be arranged for them to join a faster queue for public flats or rehousing units," he said.

The offer was endorsed by the authority's board yesterday, two months after it approved the owners' application to redevelop the four six-storey tenements on 41-51 Kai Ming Street, deemed structurally poor by the department last year.

At 51 Kai Ming Street - where the balconies had to be propped up with steel frames while concrete samples were extracted for testing - the department evicted the owners and ordered them to demolish the building by September.

The acquisition price prompted worries among owners of legally subdivided flats that it might not suffice to buy a flat of similar size in the area.

To Chuen-fai, whose unit is about 400 sq ft, said an apartment in the area that was about seven years old was valued at about HK$12,000 per sq ft.

"But we have no choice but to accept it," To said. "Our building must be demolished."

A source close to the department said the owners of flats at 51 Kai Ming Street would need to pay for the structural checks, with each household paying between HK$50,000 and HK$100,000.

A spokeswoman for the department declined to confirm that claim.