Only 68,000 of 250,000 public housing residents comply with declaration exercise

Permanent Secretary for Housing Rosanna Law Shuk-pui

26th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) As the Housing Authority’s second round of income and asset declaration exercises progresses, only 27 per cent of eligible public housing residents have complied, raising concerns about adherence rates. Permanent Secretary for Housing Rosanna Law Shuk-pui highlighted these figures during a recent radio interview, noting that out of approximately 250,000 targeted households, only 68,000 had submitted their declarations as of 17th May. The current exercise focuses on residents who have been living in public rental housing for over a decade, with a looming deadline of 31st May.

Despite the low submission rate, Law remains optimistic that more households will meet the declaration requirements as the deadline approaches. She also noted that about 300 households have proactively informed the Housing Authority of their intention to relinquish their public housing units.

The declaration process is part of a broader effort to ensure fairness in the allocation of public housing, by verifying that occupants still qualify under the income and asset thresholds. Since September, the Housing Authority has intensified its scrutiny of public housing abuse, receiving around 12,000 reports and successfully reclaiming 190 units after thorough investigations.

Additionally, Law mentioned the positive role of property management and security companies in detecting irregularities, with 28 and eight cases reported, respectively, from last October to this April. These companies are set to receive additional merit points in future government tender processes as a reward for their vigilance.

Looking ahead, Law expressed confidence in the government’s target to reduce the average waiting time for public housing to 4.5 years by the 2026-27 period. The introduction of new large housing estates in the New Territories and light public housing units expected over the next two years will be crucial to achieving this goal. Currently, the average waiting time stands at 5.7 years, underscoring the ongoing challenges in housing provision.