Shopkeepers who close for a day in their campaign for a rent cut might have their contracts axed, the Housing Department has warned. The warning was given yesterday after some 2,000 shops vowed to stay shut on July 7 to protest against the department's decision to conduct a rent re-assessment instead of carrying out a uniform rent cut. 'If they are not being co-operative and cause inconvenience to the public and residents, we will consider taking necessary action to ease the problem,' said Derek Yim Ka-yan, chief estate surveyor of the Housing Department's commercial properties division. 'Termination of contracts is one of the possibilities.' Housing Authority member Lee Wing-tat, who set up the protest, was furious about the department's threat. 'We're not threatening the department but rent re-assessment cannot help solve the problems of many shop operators.' At present, many shops are run under a single operator who bids for contracts from the department. But single operators in about 12 housing estates are excluded from the re-assessment. 'Unless there is a uniform rent cut for all shops operating in public housing estates, many shops running their businesses under a single operator instead of the Housing Department won't benefit from the move,' Mr Lee said. Some 9,400 shops with leases signed between January 1, 1996 and January 31 this year, are qualified to apply for rent re-assessment from today. The application period will last for three months, with the Housing Department expecting individual cases to be handled within four weeks. Operators will be allowed to pay the re-assessed lower rents dated back to July 1. But they must pay a processing fee of $350 to $3,300 according to the size of shop, type of business and location. 'More than 90 per cent of our commercial tenancies are paying $350 to $1,000 only. The fee is to cover our cost for employing extra surveyors for the job,' Mr Yim said.