Owners of old flats believe the Housing Society's new building management and maintenance scheme will help improve their living standards. Ling Cham, 80, and his 79-year-old wife, Wong Hom, bought their flat in Apliu Street, Shamshuipo, in 1966 and have lived there since. They were assigned a new flat in Pak Tin Estate, but had to refuse it because they could not afford the $1,700 monthly rent. 'I want to move because my own flat is too broken down and there is no lift,' Mr Ling said. 'We live on the fifth floor, but my wife cannot walk after suffering a stroke. I have respiratory problems and I find it hard to walk up the stairs. 'But I had to turn down the offer of the new flat where there is a lift service, as I now only have to pay $880 in property rates every quarter for my flat. I cannot afford the monthly rent. Nobody wants to buy my flat, as it is too old.' That may change under the $3 billion building management and maintenance scheme to be launched by the Housing Society. It will provide a one-stop service, including technical advice, incentives and interest-free loans, and aims to rehabilitate about 8,000 buildings in the next 10 years. 'It will cover a wider scope of buildings,' a society spokesman said. 'At present, the renewal programme only covers buildings which are at least 30 years old. But our scheme not only will take care of older buildings, newer ones will also benefit.' The starting date and details of the scheme have yet to be announced. Mr Ling said he would apply for a loan when the scheme begins. He would use it to renovate his flat and rent it out so he could make a living and pay rent for his new flat. 'Once my flat is renewed, it will be easier for me to rent it out or sell it. I dare not borrow money from the bank because I will be burdened with the interest.' Community organiser Iman Fok Tin-man said a property agency estimated the couple could make $3,000 to $4,000 a month from renting out their flat. She urged the Housing Society to give priority to elderly owners whose safety and health were affected by poor living conditions.