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Gov’t won’t re-launch tenants scheme

October 31, 2012
Secretary for Transport & Housing Prof Anthony Cheung says the Government does not intend to re-launch the Tenants Purchase Scheme, which has been implemented in 39 public housing estates, in other estates.
Prof Cheung told lawmakers today the number of public rental housing applications has increased persistently in recent years, reflecting the keen demand from the community.
He said as at the end of June, there were more than 199,600 applications on the waiting list.
"Apart from new flats built each year, recovered flats are also an important source of public rental housing supply. Selling public rental housing flats to tenants is tantamount to reducing the overall supply of public rental housing."
He added the turnover and supply of public rental housing flats will be affected, and this will eventually affect the Housing Authority’s ability to maintain the average waiting time for general applicants at around three years.
Prof Cheung also said the authority has encountered many problems with the management of the residual public rental housing flats in the 39 tenants purchase scheme estates.
"The Housing Authority's estate management policies cannot be fully implemented in these Tenants Purchase Scheme estates, resulting in public rental housing tenants living in the Tenants Purchase Scheme estates and those living in non-Tenants Purchase Scheme estates being subject to different management regimes."
The tenants purchase scheme was introduced in 1998 by the Housing Authority to enable public rental housing tenants to buy the flats they lived in at a discounted price.
The Government re-positioned the housing policies in 2002 after the significant change in the property market and the economic downturn following the Asian financial crisis. The authority decided to cease the sale of public rental housing flats after launching Phase 6B of the scheme in August 2005.
Out of about 183,700 flats available for sale in the 39 estates with the scheme implemented, about 121,100 had been sold as at the end of September, representing 66% of the total number of flats available for sale. There were still about 62,600 unsold flats in those estates. Tenants living in these units can opt to buy the flats they are living in.

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