Public housing resident convicted for making false statement

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      A spokesman for the Housing Department (HD) today (February 5) reminded residents of public rental housing (PRH) estates to declare truthfully their income and assets.

     A PRH resident, who did not declare his joint ownership of a residential property and its net value on a 2017 Asset Declaration Form, was convicted at Kwun Tong Magistrates' Court today and ordered to pay a fine of $20,000 for the summons laid.

     In this case the PRH resident, who lives at Kwong Tin Estate in KwunTong, declared on an asset declaration form to have no ownership of landed property in June 2017. Subsequent investigation result revealed that he held a domestic property jointly with a family member in the declaration period. Having considered his 50 per cent ownership of the said property, his concealed asset value was around $2.14 million. The resident was prosecuted by the Housing Department for neglecting to furnish information specified in the declaration form, contrary to Section 27(a) of the Housing Ordinance.

     The spokesman said that households should complete the income and asset declaration forms accurately, as this serves as the foundation for the assessment of rent. Before making the declarations, households should read the content and completion guidelines of the income and asset declaration form carefully and compute their income and assets in accordance with the methods specified.

Otherwise, they may be prosecuted for making a false statement knowingly, contrary to Section 26(1)(a) of the Housing Ordinance (if convicted, the maximum penalty is a $50,000 fine and imprisonment for six months), or be prosecuted for neglecting to furnish information as specified in a declaration form, contrary to Section 27(a) of the Housing Ordinance (if convicted, the maximum penalty is a $25,000 fine and imprisonment for three months). Notwithstanding the above, the HD will take action to recover the undercharged rent incurred due to the inaccurate information.

     The Subsidised Housing Committee under the Hong Kong Housing Authority endorsed revisions to the "Well-off Tenants Policies" at its meeting on December 9, 2016, and the revised policies have been implemented starting from the declaration cycle in October 2017. Households that have been living in PRH for 10 years are required to make a declaration biennially. In addition, households that are granted a new tenancy under the Policy on Grant of New Tenancy and those with their applications under the Tenancy Management Policies for PRH approved are also required to make a declaration biennially, irrespective of their length of residence. PRH households whose family income exceeds five times the PRH income limits (PRHILs), or whose total net household assets exceed 100 times the PRHILs, should vacate their PRH units. Those households that have private domestic property ownership in Hong Kong should vacate their PRH units irrespective of their levels of income or assets.

The HD has developed a system to investigate households' income and asset declarations with a view to determining the amount of rent to be paid or their eligibility to continue renting the PRH unit.

Published on: 2018-02-05

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