PLC Paper No. LS 72
Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Provisional Legislative Council
on 9 January 1998
Legal Service Division Report on
Housing (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1997
Objects of the Bill
PLC Brief Reference
- To remove the limit on the number of members of the appeal panel that may be appointed by the Director of Housing;
- To provide more specifically that the Housing Authority may require tenants to pay different rents based on total household income or total household income and assets;
- To empower the Director of Housing to delegate his function to assess Prevailing Market Value;
- To increase the penalty for supplying false particulars by imposing a fine of treble the amount of rent undercharged as a result of the false particulars.
2.HB(CR)5/4/21 issued by the Housing Bureau in December 1997.
Date of First Reading
3.7 January 1998.
4.Apart from a new proposal to allow the Director of Housing to appoint any number of members to the appeal panel at his discretion, the Bill contains the same amendments as were proposed by the Housing (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997. The latter was introduced to the last Legislative Council on 9 April 1997 and was then referred to a Bills Committee for scrutiny. However, as the Administration did not proceed to resume second reading debate, the bill lapsed after the end of the last legislative session.
5.Among the more important amendments to be made by the Bill is the proposal to increase the penalty on a person who supplies false particulars when applying for a lease or in response to a requisition for particulars regarding his total household income or assets.
6.At present, such offenders are liable to a fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for 6 months. The Bill proposes to add a further fine of treble the rent undercharged as a result of reliance on the false particulars.
7.When this proposal was considered by the Bills Committee in the last session, there was reservation on the proposal and a committee stage amendment was proposed to delete the relevant clause. (Members may refer to the attached report of the Bills Committee.)
8.The proposal to remove the limit on the number of members of the appeal panel will allow more panel members to be appointed, thereby increasing its capacity in dealing with appeals against termination of leases. The proposed delegation of the Director of Housing's function to assess the Prevailing Market Value will enable people from outside the Government to be employed to assist in the assessment. According to the Administration, these proposals are necessary for coping with an increasing workload in those areas of work.
9.The proposed inclusion of a power to charge different rents on the basis of affordability merely seeks to set out in more specific terms an existing power of the Housing Authority.
Consultation of Panel
10.The Panel on Housing was briefed on the proposals of the Bill at its meeting on 15 December 1997.
11.Notwithstanding that most of the provisions of the Bill are identical to the Housing (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997, it would still be necessary for Members to consider it afresh and decide whether there is any policy or other issue which needs to be studied by a Bills Committee.
CHEUNG Ping-kam, Arthur
Assistant Legal Adviser
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
31 December 1997