Written by: Zhang Jiamin
2019-12-12 12:54Last updated: 2019-12-12 12:54
The Housing Department leases suitable flats to DC members and legislators in its public housing estates for office use. The Office of The Ombudsman received the opinions of individual members that the relevant allocation mechanism was unfair. The Department of the Ombudsman has actively investigated this and issued a report today (12th).
It is mentioned in the report that the arrangement of joint renting offices has resulted in a loophole of "inherited lease right", which allows members to bypass the Housing Department's allocation mechanism, which makes people feel unfair. The Department recommends that the Housing Department should review the allocation arrangements in due course and consider converting the idle space in the estate into an office.
The Office of The Ombudsman issued an active investigation report on the allocation mechanism of the Office of the Housing Department's members. (Profile picture)
The Ombudsman's Office issued an active investigation report on the allocation mechanism of the Office of the House of Representatives. Some members questioned the unfairness of the existing allocation mechanism of the Department. Even if members had successfully rented the office, they could still rely on their higher group Priority, then lease other vacant offices. The Department has also received complaints about the joint renting of offices by members of the parliament, which states that even if one of the members of the parliament cancels the lease for various reasons, the other can continue to lease, so that the original lessee can choose the "successor" of the office as he wishes. ".
Co-leasing loopholes cause MPs to bypass allocation mechanism
The Office of The Ombudsman pointed out that after investigation, it was found that there were loopholes in the arrangement of "inherited lease rights", which enabled members to bypass the Housing Department's allocation mechanism, and it was easy to feel unfair. In response to the Department's proposal, the Housing Department has made amendments to the relevant arrangements to classify co-leased members into the main tenant and subsidiary tenants. When the main tenant withdraws from the lease or fails to be reappointed during the lease period, the subsidiary tenant can only retain the office until the expiry of its term. Thereafter, the Housing Department will re-apply for the unit. The new arrangement will apply to applications for new leases of parliamentary offices received on or after April 1, 2019, as well as applications for the addition or subtraction of joint tenants or other changes under existing leases. In addition, the Department found that the lease of the office did not have specific restrictions on operating purposes.
The picture shows the office of the Member of Parliament of the Federation of Trade Unions in Xiaoxiwan Village in 2016. (Profile picture)
The allocation mechanism should be reviewed in a timely manner without any injustice
The Office of The Ombudsman stated that the allocation mechanism of the Housing Department took into account the needs and constraints of different groups of members, and its arrangements were generally appropriate. As for the referral mechanism, it is beneficial for directly elected legislative councils in higher priority groups to rent offices of members of the parliament. The Department considers that the situation is not obvious. There are only three cases in the current term. There is no sufficient evidence to show that the current mechanism has caused Unfair allocation. The Office of The Ombudsman recommends that the Housing Department should continue to review the arrangements of the allocation offices in a timely manner and make amendments if necessary.
The Department considers that in the long run, the Housing Department should study to increase the supply of offices, including converting some suitable storage rooms or unused spaces into parliamentary offices, and recommend that the status of existing parliamentary offices be reviewed on a regular basis. Actively consider conducting a feasibility study to use the long-vacant office of members of parliament for other purposes to make good use of resources.
The Ombudsman recommends that the Housing Department set up additional offices in the unused spaces in public housing estates. (Profile picture)
According to the report, as of December 31, 2018, the Housing Department had 334 parliamentary offices in 189 estates. As of May 31 this year, the occupancy rate of the parliamentary offices of the Housing Department exceeded 96%. There are 13 vacant parliamentary offices available for hire.
According to the existing allocation mechanism, the priority of the Housing Department for allocating members' offices is:
1) elected members of the district council electoral district;
2) other district councillors of the district council;
3) Members of the geographical constituencies to which the Legislative Council belongs; and
4) Members of Legislative Council elected by functional constituencies.
At present, 80% or more of the members belonging to the above groups have been successfully allocated offices.
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Ombudsman Housing Department