Speculators sitting on flats in buildings about to be resumed by the Government had their fingers burned when it admitted yesterday the Home Purchase allowance was 'unjustifiably generous' and cut it. The scheme was criticised by the Director of Audit more than three years ago. It allowed one landlord of 100 flats to harvest $14 million in payments during the clearance of the Kowloon Walled City in the early 1990s. Under the scheme, cash is paid to all people living in a building to allow them to stay in the property market, even if they are tenants. It is on top of the full market value for the flat paid to the owner. 'This is unjustifiably generous, particularly to absentee landlords or investment owners who have no genuine need to purchase a replacement flat to live in,' a spokesman said yesterday. The guidelines announced yesterday, which still have to be approved by the Legco finance committee, would generally prevent more than one payment per person, irrespective of the number of flats they owned. It would also stop payment to absentee owners or for empty flats. Private property developers yesterday said the Government had misrepresented their request for resumption powers in the Urban Renewal proposals announced on Wednesday. Wai Siu-yu, general secretary of the Real Estate Developers' Association, said the association had never asked that if one stubborn owner in a block refused to sell a private developer should be able to get the Government to resume the block and force them out. 'If you can't get the remaining owners, it's a commercial risk that developers are prepared to accept,' he said, adding that developers 'respect private property rights'. He said, however, that developers would never be able to play a full role in urban renewal if redevelopment was blocked by some owners being untraceable or problems establishing title. He said that only in these circumstances would developers want to get the Government to resume the block. Mr Wai said the private sector's contribution to urban redevelopment was insignificant and that the Land Development Corporation or its successor could never solve the problem on its own.