Two steps to shorter queues for Hong Kong public housing flats
I would be grateful if the government of Hong Kong would consider the following two measures regarding its housing policy.
First, revise the period of occupancy for tenants of public housing flats. Tenants should be required to surrender their flats to the Housing Authority at the end of 60 years or their death, whichever comes first. The revised policy should take effect from 2025, when at least a million people in public housing might be expected reach this requirement.
The justification for such a policy would be that these tenants have enjoyed the benefit of public housing for a long time and it is fair for them to be giving back to society. That said, they may continue to live in their flats on compassionate grounds, if they can provide sufficient evidence to support their need for such a flat. Also, they should have a period of six years to plan their re-accommodation.
Second, starting from 2019, tenants who have lived in public housing for 10 years or more should be required to declare their household income annually, and pay 50 per cent of the market rate of rent for nearby private properties if their income is seen to have exceeded the prescribed limit.
Upon implementation of these policies, it is expected that a large number of people living in public housing will need to surrender their flats to the Housing Authority by 2025. This will definitely shorten the waiting time for public housing for the genuinely needy.
Bear in mind that many tenants of public housing flats are already owners of private property but are unwilling to surrender their subsidised rental flats.
Simon Sheung, Tung Chung