Legislative Council Panel on Housing
Meeting on 2 November 1998

Allocation of Public Rental Housing Flats to Waiting List Applicants

This paper aims to inform Members of the existing arrangements on allocating public rental housing (PRH) flats to Waiting List (WL) applicants.


2. The Housing Authority (HA) maintains a WL through which people of Hong Kong may apply for PRH. The WL came into operation in 1967.



3. Applicants have to fulfil the WL application eligibility criteria before allocation. The main criteria include income and asset limits, majority rule and no domestic property ownership. Details of the eligibility criteria are shown in Annex A.

Priority Schemes for the Elderly

4. A number of priority schemes for the elderly viz. (i) Single Elderly Persons Priority Scheme; (ii) Elderly Persons Priority Scheme; (iii) Families with Elderly Persons Priority Scheme; and (iv) Special Scheme for Families with Elderly Persons are in place to assist elderly persons to gain access to PRH. Details of these schemes are at Annex B.

Applications from Single Person Applicants

5. As from 1985, single persons are allowed to apply for PRH under the Single Persons Waiting List. These applicants may request for subsequent addition of family members if necessary. Under the existing policy, half of the waiting time as a single person will be credited to the application, up to a maximum of three years.

Number of Applications on the WL

6. As at 30 September 1998, there are 140,795 live applications on the WL including 18,771 applications from single persons, of whom, 8,780 are elderly applicants.


7. Allocation of PRH flats is made strictly in accordance with the chronological order of registration on the applications and the districts chosen. Subject to recommendations from the Social Welfare Department, applicants with compassionate grounds can be rehoused immediately through the Compassionate Quota. If the applicant can produce documents (e.g. Eviction Order issued by the Lands Tribunal) to prove that he will shortly be evicted from his present abode, priority will be given to process his application provided that his application is due for allocation of flats within the coming 12 months.

Quota Reserved for WL Applicants

8. The quota of PRH flats for the WL in 1998/99 is 17,550. Up to end September 1998, 8,502 flats have already been allocated. The statistics relating to the allocation of WL applicants for the month of September 1998 are at Annex C. According to the production programme, the HA would be able to allocate more than 20,000 PRH flats each year to WL applicants within the next five years.

Waiting Time

9. The current average waiting time for allocation of PRH through the WL is 6.5 years. Single elderly persons rehoused under the priority schemes can normally be rehoused within 2 to 3 years.


10. The HA is committed to reducing the average waiting time to 5 years by 2001, to 4 years by 2003 and to 3 years by 2005. For the year 1999/2000, we anticipate to provide at least 20,000 flats for WL applicants. To further shorten the waiting time, the Department will expedite allocation through giving three offers at one time to eligible applicants as from 1 April 1999 and re-alignment of the geographical boundaries of districts. These arrangements have already been endorsed by the Rental Housing Committee of the HA in September 1998.

11. With the increased supply of public housing flats and the enhanced arrangements to efficiently allocate PRH flats to applicants, we are confident to meet our pledges in reducing the average waiting time for WL applicants.

Housing Department
October 1998

Annex A
(Page 1 of 2)


  1. The applicant must be 18 years of age or above.

  2. The family size must not be less than two related persons.

  3. All married family members included in the application must apply together with their spouse (divorcee, widow/widower or those whose spouse lives aboard excepted).

  4. On allocation, the majority of the family members including the applicant must have at least seven years' residence in Hong Kong. For two-person families, both members must have lived in Hong Kong for at least seven years.

  5. The applicant or his/her family members must not, during the period from 24 months prior to the date of registration up to the date of intake,

    • own or co-own any domestic property;
    • have entered into any agreement to purchase domestic property; or
    • own more than 50% share in a company which owns domestic property.

  6. Ex-owners of Home Ownership Scheme/Private Sector Participation Scheme flat and ex-Home Purchase Loan recipients are not eligible to apply.

  7. The total monthly income and net assets value of the applicant and his/her household members must not exceed the maximum income and total net assets value limits as laid down by the Housing Authority. The current limits, subject to annual review, are as follows -

Annex A
(page 2 of 2)


Family Size Maximum Income Limit (per month)
(Effective from 1.4.1998)
Total Net Assets Limit
(Effective from 11.9.1998)
1 Person $ 6,600 $220,000
2 Persons $11,900 $330,000
3 Persons $14,800 $390,000
4 Persons $17,700 $470,000
5 Persons $19,200 $530,000
6 Persons $20,700 $600,000
7 Persons $23,500 $660,000
8 Persons $26,200 $700,000
9 Persons $28,700 $700,000
10 or more Persons $30,700 $700,000

Remarks : Assets limits for small nuclear households of three persons or less whose members are all aged over 60 will be the same as 4-person household i.e. $470,000.


Family size Maximum Income Limit (per month)
(Effective from 1.4.1998)
2 Persons $14,300
3 Persons $17,800
4 Persons $21,200

Annex B

Priority Schemes for the Elderly

  1. Single Elderly Persons Priority Scheme

    Single elderly persons at the age of 58 can register on the WL but they must reach 60 at time of allocation.

  2. Elderly Persons Priority Scheme

    Two or more related or unrelated elderly persons who are willing to live together can apply under this scheme. Normally, allocation can be made within two years after registration.

  3. Families with Elderly Persons Priority Scheme

    This scheme provides young generation families to live and take care of their elderly relatives. Eligible families under this scheme can have their flat allocation advanced by three years.

  4. Special Scheme for Families with Elderly Persons

    This scheme allows young families to apply together with their elderly parents or dependent relatives for two separate flats in the same block of the estate in New Towns and allocation can be advanced by two years.