Housing Society to help manage old flats

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 December, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 December, 2003, 12:00am

In a $100m venture, the non-profit body will have two centres offering services

The non-profit Housing Society will set up two district centres next year to provide property maintenance and management services for owners of old apartments as part of a $100 million plan offering new services .

The announcement came a day after the government released a consultation paper on building maintenance, encouraging the private sector to provide 'one-stop' services for property owners.

District offices will either provide building maintenance and management services to owners, or help them identify suitable companies.

The society will also draw up a code of practice on property maintenance and management for owners, and conduct research on effective ways of maintaining old buildings.

Society chairman David Lee Tsung-hei said yesterday the new services would send a message to property owners and the private sector that it would be feasible to bring dilapidated buildings up to scratch, and eventually attract more management firms to enter the market. One district office is likely to be set up in Shamshuipo.

Mr Lee stressed the society would only take up the task of estate management if invited to do so and it would not compete with private business.

At present, there are 11,000 apartment blocks in Hong Kong without an owners' corporation or management firm.

The government's consultation paper has been widely criticised for failing to address the problem of maintenance in old buildings, most of which lack management services or owners' corporations.

Mr Lee said the society had not discussed taking up the role of managing old buildings with the government, and added that the launch of its new service and the government consultation was coincidental. 'If you find similarities in the government proposal and in ours, it is just because we are looking at the same problem and would like to find a solution,' he said.

The society manages 29 residential complexes, runs one elderly home in Tseung Kwan O and has embarked on an urban renewal project in Shamshuipo.

Meeting the media for the first time yesterday as society chairman, Mr Lee said the organisation was still exploring ways to dispose of a stockpile of 4,000 vacant flats since the government suspended the Home Ownership Scheme last November.

The Housing Society is a non-profit organisation set up to provide subsidised housing for low-income families. The society is separate from the Housing Authority, but acts in co-operation with the government.