Care home residents forced out after Hong Kong court issues eviction notice

A legal dispute involving the Sun Flower Home Centre could see as many as 30 individuals left with nowhere to turn

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 10:02am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 November, 2016, 10:02am

As many as 30 residents staying at a care home in the Western District for people with disabilities have been left high and dry after a Hong Kong court issued an eviction order against occupiers of the unit.

In a ruling on a lease dispute handed down on Tuesday, the Lands Tribunal ordered the residents at Sun Flower Home Centre to leave the premises within 60 days.

The operator of the centre could not be reached for comment on Tuesday night. A staff member at the care home declined to confirm if residents had been moved to other premises.

In reply to a Post inquiry, the Social Welfare Department said it was aware of the incident and the department had been following up accommodation arrangements for the affected residents.

According to the ruling, the home centre, which was registered with the Social Welfare Department, could accommodate up to 42 residents.

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But the premises occupied by the care home were rented by another company – Medical Equipment Monitor Training Centre Limited.

The property manager at the Des Voeux Road West building, after discovering the centre provided board for about 20 elderly people and individuals with mild mental illnesses, reported the matter to the landlord who owned the unit in March last year.

The landlord then filed a claim at the Lands Tribunal to demand the return of the property.

He claimed that the unit could neither be used as a boarding house nor an apartment house and that his tenant had breached the lease agreement entered into between them in November 2011.

But Medical Equipment Monitor Training Centre denied that it ran a boarding house, adding that only day care and training services were provided at the unit. The firm also rejected suggestions that the property had been sublet.

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After hearing the arguments from both sides, the tribunal found that the unit or at least part of it was occupied by others in breach of the tenancy agreement.

It ordered Medical Equipment Monitor Training Centre to return the premises and foot the landlord’s legal bills.

The Social Welfare Department said it considered rejecting Sun Flower’s application for licence renewal after finding the centre had failed to meet the requirements under its licensing scheme for residential care homes.

The department added that only one resident was now staying at the care home.

But it did not say whether other affected residents had been given temporary accommodation. It also did not say whether they would be assigned a place in other care homes in future.