Residents of rundown blocks near a tenement that collapsed in To Kwa Wan criticised the Urban Renewal Authority for not making acquisition offers, as they face a Buildings Department order to maintain their properties, which will soon be torn down. Liu Sui-yin, spokesman for the group concerned about the Ma Tau Wai Road redevelopment project, said flat owners were ordered to maintain the buildings until the end of October. 'We don't know what to do because it's difficult for us to maintain our properties since many owners and tenants have already moved out,' said Liu, who owns a flat in one of the buildings concerned. In February, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah announced a plan to speed up the redevelopment project after a five-storey tenement in Ma Tau Wai Road collapsed in January. Four people died. The project covers 3,380 square metres and is bounded by Ma Tau Wai Road, Hok Yuen Street and Chun Tin Street. The project is aimed at turning 33 blocks into two 30-storey blocks. Construction is expected to take five years. Some 540 households and 35 shops will be affected, involving about 159 property interests. Liu said they were not qualified for the authority's Maintenance Cost Reimbursement Scheme or the Buildings Department's loan scheme to get funding to maintain the buildings. Some owners estimated that each of them needed to pay about HK$50,000 for maintenance work. Liu said owners also had trouble finding a contractor as many refused to take the job after the collapse. 'Also, some of us think it's a waste of resources to maintain the buildings which will soon be demolished and redeveloped,' he said. 'We want the government to tell us what to do, while the URA, which has already acquired some flats, should be involved too,' he said. A Buildings Department spokeswoman said yesterday the order was issued after considering the safety of the building structure and it was in line with the Buildings Ordinance. 'There are residents still living in the buildings concerned' she said, so maintaining safety was important. Owners could approach the department if they had economic difficulties, she said. Earlier, the authority said it could make acquisition offers to owners as soon as May, depending on the opposition.