Meet the Hong Kong landlords who are happy to drop rent
Ng Suk-ching wants to help those without homes, and plans to find a smaller flat so she can rent her current one to an NGO
Ng Suk-ching’s 600 sq ft home in an old Sham Shui Po building used to be filled with family, but after her husband died and her children moved out, she said it felt too big and empty.
“It’s very strange. There are flats without people living in them and there are people without homes to live in,” the 68-year-old said.
Ng wants to help those without homes. So she plans to find a smaller flat for herself, and rent the one she is now living in to an NGO, below market rate.
She is one of 26 landlords who have contributed 332 flats between them for a community living scheme, which finds affordable homes for poor families. The goal of the three-year scheme is to find at least 500 flats to benefit 1,000 households in need.
The Hong Kong Council of Social Service will manage the scheme, allocating the flats to different NGOs with different targeted beneficiaries, such as families with children or homeless people.
Beneficiaries are those who have waited for public housing for at least three years and are likely to be allocated one within the next two or three years.
Ng’s fifth-floor flat is in a 57-year-old walk-up on Tai Nam Street. After having surgery five times in 2013, Ng said it had become harder for her to keep walking up to her flat.
“I don’t want to have so much hardship any more, and it’s really a waste of resources that I’m the only one living in such a big flat,” she said.
Ng, a chairwoman of the building’s owners’ corporation, said a third of the flats in the building were already subdivided into micro units and rented out.
“I know all the problems of subdivided units, like water leakage and bursting sewage pipes,” she said. “I don’t want to subdivide my flat, and I hope it can help those in need.”
Tse Siu-har, in her 50s, also planned to rent one of her flats out for the scheme. She was concerned about undesirable tenants if she let it out on the private market, and said she would like an organisation to identify suitable residents.
“I don’t mind renting it out at below the market level,” Tse said. “It’s better than having unwanted tenants and it can help people in need.”