LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 2240/96-97
(These minutes have been seen
by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/PL/HA
LegCo Panel on Home Affairs
Minutes of Meeting
held on Wednesday, 2 April 1997 at 2:30 pm
in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building
Members Present :
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan (Chairman)
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon LAW Chi-kwong
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Members Absent :
Hon LO Suk-ching (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
Public Officers Attending :
- Item IV
- Mr LEE Lap-sun
- Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs
- Mr LUI Hau-tuen
- Acting Director of Home Affairs
- Mr Francis LO
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs
- Mr LUI Hau-tuen
- Acting Director of Home Affairs
- Mr Carlson K S CHAN
- Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs
- Miss Cynthia WONG
- Acting Assistant Director of Home Affairs
Attendance by Invitation :
- Item IV
- Yau Tsim Mong District Board
- Mr CHOW Chun-fai
- Mr IP Kwok-chung
- Mr LI King-wah
- Wan Chai District Board
- Mr LI Kin-yin, Mark
- Society for Community Organization
- Mr HO Hei-wah
- Ms TSANG Ka-wai
- Ms Iman FOK
- Ms LAU Sau-han
- Hong Kong Association of Property Management Companies
- Mr Johnnie CHAN
- Mr Jimmy MAK
- Chairman, Professional Practice Committee
- Hong Kong Institute of Housing
- Mr LAU Kai-hung
- Mr FAN Cheuk-hung
- Council Member
- Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors
- Mr Raymond CHENG Wai-man
- Mr David CHAN Wah-wai
- Mr Stephen YIP
Clerk in Attendance :
- Mrs Anna LO
- Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2
Staff in Attendance :
- Mr Raymond LAM
- Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 6
I. Confirmation of minutes of meetings and matters arising
(LegCo Paper Nos. CB(2) 1617/96-97 and CB(2) 1668/96-97)
The minutes of the meetings held on 17 and 28 February 1997 were confirmed.
II. Date of next meeting and items for discussion
(Paper No. CB(2) 1653/96-97(01))
Members noted that the item on "review of the consultative function of District Boards" had been discussed by the Constitutional Affairs Panel on 17 March 1997 and therefore could be removed from the list of outstanding items for discussion.
The Chairman proposed the following items for discussion at the next regular meeting on Friday, 25 April 1997 at 10:30 am -
- Administrations response to the report of the Subcommittee on Review of Advisory and Statutory Bodies.
Progress of work of the Equal Opportunities Commission.
- Handover Ceremony.
- Implementation of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance.
The Chairman undertook to discuss with the Administration before deciding on the items to be discussed.
(Post-meeting note : The Chairman subsequently decided to hold a public hearing on the Civil Liberties and Social Order Consultation Document issued by the HKSAR Chief Executives Office jointly with the Security Panel.)
III. Information papers issued since the last meeting
(LegCo Paper Nos. CB(2) 1510/96-97 and CB(2) 1579/96-97)
Members noted that the captioned papers had been issued since the last meeting.
IV. Review of the Building Management Ordinance (BMO)
Yau Tsim Mong District Board (YTMDB)
(Paper Nos. CB(2) 1653/96-97(03))
At the invitation of the Chairman, representatives of YTMDB presented their submission and highlighted the following -
- Following the court ruling on the Bayview Mansion case that owners corporations (OCs) were not empowered under the BMO to renovate or improve the common parts of buildings unless there was full consent from all owners, many OCs were unwillingly to carry out maintenance works to buildings since repairs to a building would inevitably involve a certain amount of improvement or renovation in the final stage. YTMDB supported amendments to the BMO empowering OCs to carry out reasonable improvement or upgrading works to their buildings.
- Legislative amendments should be introduced to allow OCs to legally recover the management, repair and maintenance responsibilities of rooftops or external walls abandoned by the developer.
- The Home Affairs Department (HAD) should play a more active role in assisting OCs to solve building management problems.
Wan Chai District Board (WCDB)
(Paper Nos. CB(2) 1653/96-97(04))
Representative of WCDB presented the following -
- Legislative amendments should be introduced to simplify the procedures for the formation of OCs and enforce the installation of sprinkler systems in the public places of buildings constructed before 1973.
- The Administration should increase staff resources to strengthen inspection of illegal structures, offer more assistance in the formation of OCs and help solving building management problems.
- The Administration should strengthen education on fire prevention in buildings and encourage fire drills.
Society for Community Organization (SOCO)
(Paper Nos. CB(2) 1653/96-97(08))
Representatives of SOCO highlighted their submission and made the following points -
- As many private buildings were ageing, the building management problem would rapidly become widespread and serious in the next century.
- Among 1074 "target buildings" in Hong Kong, only 40 % had made improvement.
- Among 300 private buildings in the Nam Cheong region of Shamshuipo, only 20 had OCs or Mutual Aid Committees (MACs). Building management problems were more serious in buildings without OCs/MACs. The assistance provided by Liaison Officers (LOs) of the HAD was inadequate. Mediation was insufficient. In overseas countries, the government played a more active role in building management.
- The Administration should strengthen publicity in building management, and regularly publicize its progress of work on "target buildings".
- As provision of advice on building management was only one of the many tasks of a LO in HAD, many LOs were not adequately trained to provide the necessary assistance to OCs.
- SOCO supported the establishment of a Urban Rehabilitation Fund.
Hong Kong Association of Property Management Companies (HKAPMC)
(Paper Nos. CB(2) 1653/96-97(05))
Representatives of HKAPMC briefed members on HKAPMCs paper and highlighted the following recommendations -
- Sections 14 and 18 of the BMO should be amended to empower an OC to carry out improvement work to the common parts of a building.
- There had been occasions on which individual owners made use of section 34L of the BMO to disclaim costs, for example, small claims for recovery of outstanding management fees. There was a need to tighten the wordings of the section to prevent such an abuse.
- The Code of Practice under section 44 of the BMO specified that any expenditure over $200 000 required a resolution at a general meeting of the OC. This was impractical since it was not uncommon for service contracts like cleaning and security services to exceed a value of $200 000. It would be more practical to revise the specification to an expenditure amounting to 20% or above of the annual budget.
- As some members of OCs abused their power for personal advantage, the operation of OCs should be monitored by the Government.
Hon Kong Institute of Housing (HKIH)
(Paper No. CB(2) 1653/96-97(06))
Representatives of HKIH shared the views of HKAPMC and commented that the Administration should allocate more resources to improve building management. HKIH was of the view that, in amending the BMO, consequential amendments should be made to other relevant ordinances. They added that while management companies were monitored by the BMO, there was a lack of control on OCs, many of which were badly managed.
Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS)
(Paper No. CB2 1653/96-97(07)
Representatives of HKIS presented their submission and highlighted the following -
- Building safety committees should be formed under District Boards to identify dangerous buildings and advise property owners to carry out proper maintenance.
- Financial assistance in the form of tax reduction, loans and grants should be provided to property owners in the proper maintenance of buildings. In this connection, the Government should set up a central maintenance and improvement fund to finance the needy through loans and grants.
- The Government should require buildings over 15 years old to be inspected by a Registered Professional Maintenance Consultancy (RPMC) on a regular basis and repaired to the satisfaction of the RPMC until a maintenance certificate was issued.
Meeting with the Administration
(Paper No. CB(2) 1653/96-97(02))
At the invitation of the Chairman, Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs (DSHA) and Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (PAS(HA)) presented the Administrations paper and informed members that the "Court of Appeal" in paragraph 4 should read "High Court". Drafting instructions for the proposed amendments to the BMO had been issued to the Attorney Generals Chambers (AGC), and the relevant bill had not yet been introduced to LegCo. Members views on the BMO were welcome.
Referring to the Chairmans view at the last meeting that the required resolution of owners of no less than 50% of the shares of a building for an OC to terminate a management company was too stringent and should therefore be lowered, representatives of the Administration stated that since the issue concerned dismissal of a management company (dismissal of employee by employer) and required amendments to the BMO, it was necessary for the Administration to examine it carefully and consult the relevant parties before arriving at a decision.
Representatives of the Administration thanked deputations for their views and undertook to respond in writing to the points raised in the submissions. Views concerning policy areas outside the purview of the Home Affairs Branch (HAB) would be referred to the relevant policy branches.
DSHA informed members that the issue of requiring all commercial buildings constructed before 1973 to install a sprinkler system was being examined by a LegCo Bills Committee.
On the question of manpower shortage, Acting Director of Home Affairs(AgDHA) stated that HAD had already bid for 31 additional LOs for the coming financial year. The Administration was committed to addressing building management problems. It was examining the proposed establishment of Building Management Resource Centres (BMRCs). Professional bodies had been approached on the possibility of provision of professional advice and the initial response was positive. He undertook to brief members on the proposed BMRCs in May 1997.
On the problems of management of rooftops and public areas, DSHA stated that the Administration had provided a paper for the Panel meeting on 20 December 1996 and stressed that caution had to be exercised as it involved possible Government intervention into a private deed amongst the owners of a building. Hong Kong was a democratic and free city. It should avoid any encroachment on private property rights.
In response to a member, DSHA and PAS(HA)) stated that "target buildings" were not confined to buildings with OCs/MACs. Where a "target building" had no OC/MAC, the Administration would usually assist the owners to form an OC first. This would facilitate effective building management work.
The Chairman commented that the adjudication of building management cases by the High Court was costly and time-consuming. HAD should strengthen its role in building management. Where a case could not be settled through mediation, it should be adjudicated by the Lands Tribunal. DSHA and AgDHA responded that amendments made to the BMO in 1993 had already simplified procedures concerning adjudication. HAD would try its best to perform its liaison and mediating role within limited resources. It did not want to see, nor was it right to have, excessive participation in the management of buildings, which were private property. The BMO provided OCs with the statutory powers and duties to manage their own buildings. While the Administration would provide advice to OCs, it should not make decisions for them. AgDHA added that, with his many years experience in the Eastern District Office, he was fully aware of building management problems.
DSHA stated that in cases where OCs had doubts on whether to carry out maintenance or repair works as a result of the Bayview Mansion case, they could check their Deed of Mutual Covenant to see whether such could be done and seeking legal advice if necessary.
Members were generally of the view that the Administration should expedite the introduction of legislative amendments to the BMO. A member suggested the Administration to introduce the amendment bill to LegCo in April 1997 so that the proposed amendments could be passed in LegCo within the current legislative session. DSHA agreed to consider the suggestion, but pointed out that since drafting instructions had just been provided to AGC, such a time frame might not be feasible.
V. Implementation of the new election rules for rural elections
AgDHA informed members that 514 (93%) out of 555 villages had implemented the new election rules by the end of March 1997. Five seats of village representatives on Cheung Chau Island would be elected under the new election rules on 25 May 1997. At members request, he undertook to provide the time-table of full implementation of new election rules for all village representatives on Cheung Chau Island. He hoped that full implementation of the new election rules would be completed by the end of 1997.
A member was concerned that out of 39 village representatives on Cheung Chau Island, only five would be elected under the new election rules. He considered that the Administration should ensure that this partial implementation of new election rules would not become a precedent for other villages. It should also ensure full implementation of the new election rules in all rural villages by the end of 1997.
The meeting ended at 4:50 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
13 May 1997
Last Updated on 19 August 1998