Housing Authority to commence new round of asset checks on 1st April to combat misuse of public housing

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Winnie Ho

19th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) In an effort to combat the misuse of public housing, the Hong Kong government has been implementing various measures in recent years.  The Housing Authority will commence a new round of property and residency declaration on 1st April. Winnie Ho, Secretary for Housing, revealed in an interview with Ta Kung Pao that they will intensify the scrutiny of property declarations submitted by residents, as well as enhance the examination of their assets, including the valuation of their vehicles and properties in mainland China and overseas.

Regarding the assessment of vehicle values, Ho explained that estate staff will pay attention to the parking situations in public housing estates and gather relevant information about vehicles through their licence plates from the Transport Department. This includes the valuation of vehicles, which will be taken into account when calculating the residents’ assets if they are verified as public housing tenants rather than homeowners.

Furthermore, the value of vehicles parked in public housing estates will become a target for examination. Ho emphasized that the treatment of residents’ overseas properties will follow a similar process. If it is discovered that a resident possesses properties abroad, relevant authorities, such as the Guangdong Provincial Department of Land and Resources, will be consulted to verify the information. Last year, public housing tenants were found to have exceeded the asset limit due to their properties in mainland China, resulting in the retrieval of their units.

Ho stressed that the government will continue to strengthen the fight against the misuse of public housing through various leads and channels. To this end, the task force dedicated to combating such misuse has recruited retired disciplinary forces personnel to assist in formulating effective strategies. They will enhance online surveillance to identify any instances of public housing being illegally sublet or utilized for guesthouse purposes.

Regarding the waiting time for public housing, Ho predicted a slight increase in the average waiting time during the fourth quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year. However, with the introduction of the “Light Public Housing” initiative, which will provide additional units starting from the first quarter of next year, Ho expressed confidence that the waiting time will gradually decrease and reach the target of 4.5 years by 2026/27.