An elderly tenant has scored an early victory in her legal challenge against the Housing Authority, with the suspension of its controversial review of public housing rental policy. Early this month, retired dim sum waitress Ho Choi-wan, 73, launched a landmark legal bid to force the authority to lower the rent in public housing estates. She claimed tenants were being overcharged under the law. After a meeting of the authority's committee reviewing domestic rent policy, chairman Ng Shui-Lai said the suspension followed legal advice that the authority should avoid public discussion of the issue as it could interfere with the court ruling. Mr Ng said the court judgment might eventually affect the authority's rental policy and the findings of the review. He said the authority would follow the present housing rental policy until the court case was settled. But he refused to disclose whether rental of public flats would continue to be frozen. Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung said: 'Since we are now facing a lawsuit, it is not an appropriate time to discuss our grounds for the policy review for the time being, because they may be presented in court.' The Housing Ordinance states that any rental review should not cause the median rent-to-income ratio in public rental flats to exceed 10 per cent. The limit was set in 1997 to ensure public housing was affordable to low-income families. But the rent-to-income ratio has risen to more than 11.7 per cent because of steady decreases of tenants' incomes. The law also says a rent review should be conducted at least three years after the previous review. The results of the court challenge could affect the 2.1 million residents who now live in public housing estates managed by the authority. Mr Ng did not say how long the court case would delay the review findings, but the case is expected to take months. The review, launched early last year, was aimed at reassessing the standards and mechanisms which determine the rent levels of all public rental flats in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, veteran housing critic Virginia Ip Chiu-ping, chief secretary of the People's Council on Housing Policy, said Mr Suen had said during a 45-minute closed-door meeting that boosting flat prices could help improve the economy but government interference would only have a short-term stimulating effect. Mr Suen was also quoted as saying the government would no longer take the role as major supplier of flats and that there was a need to review the government quota of providing assistance to 50,000 families a year to buy homes.