China News Service, Hong Kong, July 22nd. Title: The grassroots in Hong Kong look forward to saying goodbye to the "cage home" life in sub-districted housing
China News Agency reporter Wang Jiacheng
The small space is packed with all the “households” of the residents; the old walls are cracked and peeled off due to dampness; the bathrooms and kitchens shared by several households make epidemic prevention more difficult... In the bustling Hong Kong, there are more than 220,000 people are trapped in sub-divided houses and caged homes. They bear relatively cheap but still high rents, and they are satisfied with the fact that there are tiles to cover their heads.
"The central government's attention to the housing problem in Hong Kong has given the grass-roots people in Hong Kong see the light." Hong Kong citizens who have been plagued by housing problems and people from all walks of life who are concerned about related issues said in an interview with a reporter from China News Agency.
Xia Baolong, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, recently proposed that when our country’s second centenary goal is achieved, we hope that Hong Kong will have a more prosperous economy, a more balanced development of various undertakings, and a more harmonious and peaceful society at that time. .
"Especially the worrying housing problem will be greatly improved, and we will bid farewell to subdivided houses and'cage homes'."
How are the tenants living in subdivided houses?
The most common comments reporters heard during the interview were "very crowded", "hazardous safety hazards", and "the epidemic city still increases rents."
When the reporter interviewed an old building in Mong Kok earlier, he talked to Mr. Feng, who has lived in a sub-unit for many years, about the potential safety hazards of the residents.
He said that in order to be able to collect more rents, the landlord should be able to separate as much as possible. Therefore, as the houses on the same floor have become smaller and smaller in recent years, there are more and more people living together.
However, a dozen or even dozens of households share one floor of fire-fighting equipment; the tenants are more complex, but they have to share facilities such as kitchens and toilets. "There are hidden dangers to safety and hygiene, but there is no way."
Mr. Feng hopes that the relevant departments can help solve the corresponding problems, and even if they gradually improve, they can see hope.
The sub-divided house where Ms. Zhang lives is relatively "comfortable". There are four households in one house. Since the owner himself is decorating for the purpose of renting out, the small cubicles are "small but full of internal organs."
She told reporters that the more troublesome problem with subdivided houses is that co-living tenants cannot decide by themselves and need to trust the owner's choice completely; and the sound insulation effect of the cubicle is not ideal; in addition, the independent toilet has a small area and needs to adapt.
However, such a relatively comfortable environment corresponds to a relatively expensive rent. "It costs 7,300 yuan a month, originally the asking price is 7,500 yuan, but after bargaining with the landlord, the price is slightly reduced." Ms. Zhang said, the impression of a sub-divided house is average. It is relatively old, and there are problems in the sanitation environment and fire-fighting facilities. I believe that these problems can be solved slowly with the attention of the central government.
Shi Lishan, deputy director of the Hong Kong Association of Community Organizations, told China News Agency that there are currently an estimated 220,000 renters living in subdivided houses in Hong Kong. In particular, the unemployment rate has risen in the past two years, personal underemployment, and the economic situation of the grassroots citizens have deteriorated. The number of residents in "cage homes" is increasing unabated.
The high housing prices of commercial housing make it impossible for many people to "go upstairs"; it takes longer and longer to queue to apply for government public housing. At present, only about 10,000 units can be provided each year, but 160,000 applications are waiting. .
The rents of houses on the market are also expensive, and the grassroots citizens can only choose to rent small places.
Regarding the central government’s concern about the housing problem in Hong Kong, Shi Lishan said that if relevant government departments and relevant social organizations can work together and work together in the future, they believe that the problem can be improved. If the determination is large, there will be huge improvements in ten, eight or even a few years.
Cheng Yongshun, Chairman of the Transitional Housing and Sub-Committee of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, also said in an interview that Director Xia Baolong’s speech expresses the aspirations of many Hong Kong people, especially the grassroots living in small housing, because they are really I have been living in such a harsh environment for many years.
He pointed out that Director Xia put forward a very good goal and vision, and how to do it requires the SAR government to resolve it.
In fact, in order to solve the problem of subdivided housing, the SAR government proposed the establishment of transitional housing in 2018 to increase the supply.
According to Zheng Yongshun, related work is progressing well. Now about 1,300 units have been completed. It is expected that more than 6,000 units will be launched on the market from the second half of this year to next year.
"I hope that in the next three years, all 15,000 units will be completed. I believe this goal can be achieved. At the same time, we also continue to encourage the government to build more transitional houses if there are suitable places."
Earlier this month, the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) (Amendment) Bill 2021 submitted by the SAR government was first read in the Legislative Council of the SAR.
According to the proposed subdivided house rental control framework, subdivided house owners and tenants must sign a written lease agreement that sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties.
Tenants will be guaranteed a four-year tenure, and the lease term is fixed at two years. During the period, only rent can be reduced and not increased.
After the first 12 months of the tenancy period, the tenant can give one month's notice to terminate the tenancy agreement, and the landlord cannot propose to terminate the tenancy agreement within the period.
Zheng Yongshun told reporters that the subcommittee will soon hold its first meeting on the issue of rent management of sub-divided houses, hoping to complete the deliberation within one to two months, and the goal is to pass relevant regulations in October this year.
"At present, the first step has been taken to solve the problem of housing rent control. I hope that the government can increase the supply of land and housing in the future, and at the same time, it can set specific goals so that everyone can see the timetable." (End)