The Hong Kong Institute of Housing Urges 2022-23 Budget Allocation to Improve the Current Old Districts and Old Buildings Conditions
HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 19 January 2022 -Ms. Yu Chun, President of The Hong Kong Institute of Housing (HKIH) sent a letter to the Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government last week and proposed the followings regarding the 2022-23 Budget:
(1) Allocate budget to strengthen anti-epidemic measures in old districts and rural village areas
The COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong remains challenging. Therefore, it is critical to improve hygiene of local community to fight the virus. However, some buildings in old districts and rural villages do not have proper property management (PM) support and cleaning services, they are areas of great potential risk under the pandemic.
For buildings with confirmed cases or residents who are required to receive compulsory testing , HKIH suggested the Government to allocate funding in the 2022-23 Budget for a one-off comprehensive cleaning action for these buildings, their surrounding lanes and streets. The initiative can maintain the overall environmental hygiene of these areas, thus reducing the chance of transmission as well as the risk faced by the community. It also serves the purpose of reminding owners and residents of the importance of professional property management and environmental hygiene.
(2) Allocate budget to encourage residents of old buildings or village houses to engage PM services under the pandemic
Over the years, quite a number of old buildings in the urban area and village houses in remote areas do not have effective and professional property maintenance and management, since they are not supported by any residents' organizations and management companies. Different problems arise under the pandemic, such as building management, environmental hygiene, security, maintenance, illegal alterations and changes in building use, etc. As a result, the Government has to face the problems which can actually be solved by engaging consistent, professional and effective property management services. Under pandemic crisis, citizens have stronger awareness of the need for good property management and the Government should seize this golden opportunity to encourage them to engage effective property management services.
Therefore, HKIH suggested the Government to reserve budget in the 2022-23 Budget to provide seed funding for the establishment of Owners' Corporations (OC) and hire PM services. The seed funding can be used for initial appointment of professional PM companies or for setting up of CCTV systems. It can help improving residents' living environment and extending the lifespan of buildings, as well as, ensuring the safety and hygiene of these areas in local community.
(3) Subsidies for implementing Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Charging Scheme
HKIH is delighted that The Waste Disposal (Charging for Municipal Solid Waste) (Amendment) Bill 2018 was passed by the Legislative Council. To comply with civil responsibility and support environmental protection, HKIH believes that the PM industry will show full support to the scheme. All in all, properties with OCs or PM companies will have a higher success rate in proper execution of waste reduction initiatives. However, it may be difficult for residents of some old buildings or rural village houses to comply with this statutory requirement as they are lack of PM services and monitoring systems. This may hinder the effectiveness of waste reduction.
HKIH hopes that the Government will subsidize installation of CCTV system for old buildings and rural village houses without PM company for monitoring illegal garbage disposal and will also subsidize in upgrading or installing public refuse collection points/recycle bins in order to enhance hygiene of nearby areas too. Installation of CCTV system can also alleviate manpower burden and reduce management fee if a PM company is engaged in future. This will benefit small properties of limited owners to have PM services at an affordable cost. At the same time, HKIH suggested the Government to reserve budget for distributing designated garbage bags to residents free of charge at the early stage of MSW implementation so as to assist residents to get used to the new Scheme.
(4) Allocate budget to encourage digitalization of the city and PM industry.
Digital transformation of the city is a popular trend. Recently, many PM companies have launched AI-management. Supplemented with technology and service, it can be used in daily management work and provide a more high-quality living experience for citizens. Nevertheless, hindered by cost-effectiveness concerns among network providers, old districts and remote areas in Hong Kong are seriously short of facilities like optical fibres and launch stations. Thus, it hinders the overall pace of digital transformation in Hong Kong.
HKIH suggested the Government to establish a long-term and comprehensive plan for Hong Kong's 5G infrastructure projects in the 2022-23 Budget to establish necessary network infrastructures for areas in need. Besides, the Government should provide funding or subsidies for developing innovative technology and deploying latest devices in the PM industry. It can help accelerating 5G infrastructure development and benefit the digital transformation of the PM industry, old buildings' management, and Hong Kong society as a whole.
About The Hong Kong Institute of Housing
The Hong Kong Institute of Housing ("the Institute") was incorporated in Hong Kong on 29 November 1988 under the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32 of the Laws of Hong Kong) as a company limited by guarantee. Effective from 9 May 1997, the Institute has become a body corporate under The Hong Kong Institute of Housing Ordinance (Cap. 507, originally 34 of 1997). The Institute has been announced as one of the first-batch Recognised Professional Bodies (RPBs) of PMSA since December 2019.