Hong Kong tradition of loud home renovations: is there no way out?
We recently moved to Butler Towers in Jardine’s Lookout. Without any notice given, major renovations have commenced on the floor above us. I am shocked that there are no laws that prevent landlords from renovating in any way they like.
I have called the police numerous times and also the Environmental Protection Department, as I have a newborn baby and the noise from 9am to 7pm is not only unbearable but also extremely hazardous to the hearing and brain development of an infant.
We know that with extended exposure, noise that reaches a decibel level of 85 can cause permanent damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, leading to hearing loss. Many common sounds may be more damaging to your hearing than you think.
Having grown up in Switzerland where there are so many laws to protect the tenant, it is shocking to me that the laws in Hong Kong are all on the side of the landlords. Building management does not need to release phone numbers of landlords, nor does it need to inform all the tenants affected prior to commencement of major renovation and the duration of the work.
Time should be set aside for anyone to protest against the work, but instead, landlords can start to cause massive disruptions without any notification. Yet, rent and management fees must be paid on time, and this in a city where the rents are among some of the highest in the world.
Police say there is nothing they can do, and the Environmental Protection Department didn’t even measure the decibels but instead took dust samples.
Christina Strong, Central