The Urban Renewal Authority will be able to start redeveloping two aged buildings in Sham Shui Po after 80 per cent of owners agreed to sign contracts selling their property to the authority.
But before construction starts, the owners will have to pay for maintenance work on the buildings. They could be billed tens of thousands of dollars each.
Kelvin Chung Kin-keung, general manager of the authority's acquisition and clearance unit, said 70 per cent of the owners had not complied with the government's maintenance orders. The authority has chosen to redevelop the buildings, at 1-3 B Kowloon Road and 170-186 Tung Chau Street, under a "demand-led" scheme launched last year, in which property owners can invite the authority to step in if they have collected the consent of two-thirds of the owners.
Chung said the authority had made it clear in the contract that the maintenance fee would be deducted from the bid.
The owners would be fully liable if any accident took place before the two parties closed the deal, he added.
The authority is waiting for the development minister's authorisation to start the project, which is expected to be completed before 2020.
The rebuilt blocks will provide 270 apartments of up to 700 square feet each.
Meanwhile, the authority said the government's relocation allowance for tenants displaced by redevelopment might be a solution for widow Tao Xiaorong, who faces eviction but cannot get the HK$70,000 ex-gratia payment from the authority because she is not a permanent resident.
"I hope the authority can help relocate me to an apartment, so that I don't have to be scared of being evicted any more," Tao said yesterday.
Ellen Wong Lai-keun, also a general manager of the acquisition and clearance unit, said a relocation allowance was possible. "It does not matter whether the tenant has permanent residency or not," an authority spokeswoman said.