2 public housing tenants sentenced for failing to declare property ownership

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Hing Wah (2) Estate

30th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) Two public rental housing (PRH) tenants were each handed a 160-hour community service order and fined HK$12,000 after being found guilty of intentionally withholding information about their domestic property ownership in Hong Kong. The Housing Department (HD) has taken the opportunity to remind PRH residents of the importance of truthful declarations regarding their income and assets.

The cases involved two residents residing in Hing Wah (2) Estate and Chai Wan Estate, who had both submitted their 2022 Income and Assets Declaration Forms claiming no domestic property ownership in Hong Kong. However, subsequent investigations revealed that the Hing Wah (2) Estate resident was a joint owner of a property in Cheung Sha Wan during the relevant period, while the Chai Wan Estate resident was the sole owner of a property in Chai Wan. Both individuals were prosecuted for failure to provide accurate information as required by the declaration form, a violation of Section 27(a) of the Housing Ordinance. On 28th May, they were convicted in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts and received a sentence of 160 hours of community service and a fine of HK$12,000. The HD has already reclaimed the PRH flat in Chai Wan Estate, and a notice-to-quit has been issued to the PRH tenant in Hing Wah (2) Estate to reclaim the relevant unit.

The HD spokesperson emphasised the significance of completing Income and Assets Declaration Forms accurately for PRH households. The information provided plays a crucial role in determining rent assessments and continued eligibility for PRH residency. Before filling out the requisition required by the Hong Kong Housing Authority, households should carefully review the content and completion guidelines of the declaration forms, ensuring that their income and assets are computed in line with the specified methods. Failure to comply may lead to prosecution for knowingly making false statements under Section 26(1)(a) of the Housing Ordinance, which carries a maximum penalty of a HK$50,000 fine and six months’ imprisonment. Neglecting to furnish information as required by a declaration form, as outlined in Section 27(a) of the Housing Ordinance, may result in prosecution with a maximum penalty of a HK$25,000 fine and three months’ imprisonment. The HD will take action to recover any undercharged rent resulting from inaccurate information provided by households, and in some cases, PRH units may be reclaimed.