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[Contribution] Centennial rent management can provide protection for grassroots tenants

2020-04-28T09:44:24.237Z

Chief Executive Lin Zheng Yuee announced 10 relief measures for people's livelihood on January 14 this year, one of which is "to study the implementation of" private housing "rental control". On April 16, the government announced the appointment of 13 people to set up a "Working Group on Rent Control". The term of office is 18 months, and the report will be completed in the first half of next year. This article attempts to review the government ’s recent research on rent management to bring out the concerns of grassroots tenants and civil society, and hopes that the government and members of various working groups will face it seriously so as to regain the protection that grassroots tenants began a hundred years ago. Written by: Lai Jianguo, Senior Lecturer, Tang Luofengxian, Academy of Social Sciences, Caritas College 



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2020-04-28 17:31

Last update date: 2020-04-28 17:31

Chief Executive Lin Zheng Yuee announced 10 relief measures for people's livelihood on January 14 this year, one of which is "to study the implementation of" private housing "rental control". On April 16, the government announced the appointment of 13 people to set up a "Working Group on Rent Control". The term of office is 18 months, and the report will be completed in the first half of next year. This article attempts to review the government ’s recent research on rent management to bring out the concerns of grassroots tenants and civil society, and hopes that the government and members of various working groups will face it seriously so as to regain the protection that grassroots tenants began a hundred years ago.

Written by: Lai Jianguo, Senior Lecturer, Tang Luofengxian, Academy of Social Sciences, Caritas College 

The government announced the establishment of a "Working Group on Rent Control of" Liquid Housing "". (Profile picture)

Recalling the history of rental control in Hong Kong, before the Second World War, due to the increase in refugees from the mainland of China but the supply of housing was slow, the government implemented the first rental control in 1921, with the purpose of freezing rents and curbing the forced eviction of landlords. In the following nearly 100 years, the employers forced the relocation, the increase in rents, the protection of tenancy rights, and the disputes over leases were revised, and the regulations were tightened and relaxed. Until November 2002, the government introduced nine housing policies to stabilize the property market. One of them was "Comprehensive Review of the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance". The purpose was to relax the rent control of private buildings as much as possible and reduce interference with private individuals. The condition of the contract. " On July 9, 2004, the tenancy control was formally cancelled, and tenants' tenure rights and rent increases were fully relaxed. Grassroots tenants lack bargaining power, and their situation is even more vulnerable.

Government's past rent control research

Since the end of the 2000s, non-governmental organizations have been urging the government to re-examine the tenancy regulations when rents continue to rise, rental rights are not guaranteed, and the living environment is getting worse. After several lobbying sessions, the government conducted a study in 2014 during the consultation of the "Long-Term Housing Policy" to explore 3 cities in the United States (San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City), and 5 countries in Europe (Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, United Kingdom , France), 4 places in Asia (Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia) and other 12 economies including rent control and rental rights protection. The conclusion is that "Empirical research both locally and overseas 說 clearly promotes the lease control may have various unintended effects. ... We believe that if we rush to promote the lease control measures, it will be contrary to the general public 利 益." (Transport and Housing Bureau, 2014: 13). At the same time, the Information Research Group of the Information Services Department of the Legislative Council Secretariat (2014) also published "Leasing Control in Selected Places" to study the detailed analysis and research of the places in New York City, Ontario, and Hong Kong that have implemented rental control. Explore its rent control methods, coverage, rent increase, financial incentives for landlords, and security of tenure rights.

Subsequently, in 2017, the Data Research Section of the Information Services Department of the Legislative Council Secretariat published "Leasing Control in Selected Places", and then analyzed the rental control in the Netherlands, Germany and New York City. Although the study indicated that "the rental control is questionable However, it is also suggested that the common points of practice of rent control overseas are: removing new leases and / or new properties from the scope of control; only targeting lower-value properties; setting income ceilings for families renting controlled units; and determining rental increases When considering the tenant's family income, other economic and housing factors; the owner can renovate the unit or improve the project to increase the rent; prohibit the owner from overcharging the utility facilities; and implement the rent increase exemption plan and tenancy protection to protect the vulnerable community tenants.

This time, the "Working Group on Rental Control of" Securities "will hold its first meeting, which will bring hope for possible re-implementation of rental control. However, civil society generally has the following concerns.

Chief Executive Lin Zhengyue held a press conference on January 14 to announce ten new measures for people's livelihood. (Profile picture / photo by Luo Junhao)

1. Is it a "feasibility" study or a "plan" study?

The government's press release has different opinions at different times. In the government's "The Chief Executive Announces Ten New Livelihood Policy Measures to Benefit Over One Million Grassroots Citizens and Vulnerable Communities" on January 14, the working group refers to "a study on a feasible plan to implement rental control for" private housing "." . However, in the "Working Group on Rental Management of" Liquid Housing "was established on April 16, it was stated that the group" researched on the feasibility and feasible options for rent control of "liquid housing". "Therefore, whether it is" feasible " "Sexuality" research, that is, the conclusion after one year is not feasible, such as the research conducted by the "Long Term Housing Policy" in 2014; or what "plan" is feasible? Will the members of the working group turn into rubber stamps to escort the government for its long-standing opposition to the implementation of rental control?

Waiting time for public housing applicants continues to be high. (Profile picture)

2. Members lack primary tenants or groups, and it is difficult to directly reflect their opinions

The "Working Group on Rent Control" consists of 13 people, including scholars, researchers, lawyers, surveyors, engineers, heads of public housing organizations, and chairpersons of owners' organizations. The chairman is the chairman of the Real Estate Agents Authority and He also holds multiple public positions. This group of 6 professors is really rare in the working group established by the government in recent years, but they have the opportunity to become a bright shield for the government.

In addition, among the members of the group are the chairpersons of owners' groups and the heads of public housing organizations, but they lack basic level tenants or group representatives. Although the government keeps saying that it will consult with grassroots tenant groups, the working group lacks the voice of the tenant, which directly affects the representativeness of the working group and the opinions in the meeting tend to be single. Therefore, the civil society hopes that the working group can publish the meeting agenda and post-meeting records before each meeting, so that grassroots tenant groups can participate in the entire research process in different ways. At the same time, it is indispensable for the working group to consult grassroots tenants in different forms and methods. It is hoped that the government will not repeat the same mistakes as the land supply consultation. There will be less thunder and rain, and the government will not have any conclusions from the research results.

Many grassroots people live in uncomfortable environments. (Profile picture)

3. How does the research result fall, or is it just the political party merit

The government stated that the working group will complete the report in the first half of 2021, but it is only about one year away from the end of the current government. Does the report have any significance for the next government, or will it not be put to a high end in the end. In fact, the word "management rent management" was only reviewed by an established political party. Civil society organizations did not propose to control only house purchases, as Xie Weiquan's article questioned that house purchases are difficult to prescribe. This time, Lin Zhengyue proposed that the "property rent management" would really want to propose a solution for the grassroots tenants, or would it actually make a successful achievement for a political party? The biggest problem is that the party's "property rent management" is nominal and lacks specific content and plan details. Therefore, the working group should discuss the plan with various civil society organizations, and later formulate a transition plan for the implementation of tenancy control so that grassroots tenants can be protected as soon as possible.

Hong Kong began to establish leasing control in 1921, and the control has been lifted for 16 years a hundred years later. During this period, many tenants faced rent surging, inadequate protection of tenancy rights, overcharging of water and electricity bills by landlords, forced eviction of tenants, and rental unit environment Bad etc. The government's laissez-faire in the private rental market has hurt the vulnerable tenants to the greatest extent. It is hoped that the "Working Group on Rent Control of" Securities "will be able to regain the tenant protection for the grassroots tenants in Hong Kong for 100 years.

The research group on rent management will meet next Wednesday and will hold a public forum to deliver the final report to the government.

The government set up a group to study the rent management members, pointing out that the control is a loss for the three losers 

Chen Fan: Lease control or negative effects, the government's open attitude study, expected results in 2021.

Rental Control House

Source: hk1

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