Legislative Council
Panel on Welfare Services Meeting on 14 September 1998

Information Paper on
Supply of premises for residential care home for the elderly


This paper reports on the progress and future direction of supply of premises for residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs).


2. Arising from the deputation from the Hong Kong Private Nursing Home Owners Association to meet with the then Provisional Legislative Council, four relevant departments, inter alia, the Social Welfare Department, the Buildings Department, the Lands Department and the Home Affairs Department were invited to attend a case conference on 31 March 1998 at which issues regarding the operation of private residential care homes for the elderly (RCHE), such as deeds of mutual covenant (DMC), user restriction in land leases and occupation permits, and matters related to change-of-user were raised. In the case conference, the Administration agreed to study the matter and report progress to Members.

Current efforts and possible measures

3. Following discussions with the then Provisional Legislative Council Members on 31 March 1998, respective policy bureaux and departments have been following up on the matters raised. The Elderly Commission's Ad Hoc Committee on Housing and Residential Care have also considered the issues relating to DMC and change-of-user, etc. in June 1998. The Committee considered that the root of the problem is the shortage of premises suitable for RCHEs and noted that the Administration has been working on a number of proposals to increase the supply of premises for RCHE purposes:

  1. as a short-term measure, to lease out suitable vacant government properties such as ex-staff quarters and commercial properties in public housing estates to private residential care home operators (progress in this respect is at the Appendix);

  2. for the longer term, to develop reserved sites for community centres into joint-user buildings housing RCHEs, the first such development will come on stream by end of 2000; and

  3. explore with the Housing Authority, Housing Society and Land Development Corporation the possibility to incorporate provision of RCHEs in their development programmes.

4. The Committee recommended that the Administration also consider the following proposals:

  1. granting waiver from the specified land/building usage to facilitate the setting up of RCHEs;

  2. streamlining processing of change-of-user applications to speed up the grant of waiver process; and

  3. developing meausres with other policy bureaux and departments measures to encourage private sector participation in providing accommodation for RCHEs.

5. The Committee will report to the Elderly Commission in September 1998 on its assessment of the elderly's demand for residential care services and its recommendations on a strategy to meet the long term needs.

6. On the DMC issue, the Administration has been keeping a watching brief on the development of the two known impending court cases. DMC is a private contract which defines and regulates the rights, interests, entitlements, responsibilities and obligations among owners of a building. There are usually no specific prohibitions in DMC against the operation of RCHE, but there are routine clauses against contravention of specified land and building usage. Furthermore, provisions against the setting up of inn, hotel, guesthouse, etc. in the buildings are common place and it is unclear whether RCHEs might be covered by them.

7. On contravention of specified building usage, the Building Authority has been exercising its discretion in granting waiver to applications to set up RCHEs in non-domestic parts of the building. As suggested in paragraph 4 (a) and (b) above, the Administration will consider simplifying the related procedures further.

8. The majority of the 425 private RCHEs in the territory are located in private composite buildings. On the whole they have been able to co-exist peacefully with other residents in the buildings. The two known court cases are but a minority. To avoid breaching the sub judice rule, the Ad Hoc Committee has decided not to comment on the matter, pending the court hearings or settlement of the disputes.

9. Meanwhile, the Secretary for Health and Welfare has appointed the Director of Social Welfare to head a Strategic Group to formulate a premises-led programme for RCHEs and take forward the initiatives mentioned in paragraphs 3 and 4 above. The Group comprises directorate level representatives from the Health & Welfare Bureau; Finance Bureau; Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau; Housing Bureau; Home Affairs Bureau; Business and Services Promotion Unit; Government Property Agency; Planning, Lands, Building, Housing and Home Affairs Departments respectively. The Group held its first meeting on 13 August 1998.

The Way Forward

10. The Administration recognizes the need to promote private sector participation in providing quality residential care services for the elderly. To encourage an increased supply of premises of good quality for setting up private care homes and to encourage more positive competition within the industry, we shall step up efforts in collaboration with the concerned policy bureaux and government departments to take forward the premise-led programme.

Health and Welfare Bureau/
Social Welfare Department
September 1998


Vacant staff quarters and Housing Department premises
identified for conversion into
Residential Care Homes for the Elderly
(position as at 21.8.1998)


No. of places

Current Position

Ex-government quarters

Dills Corner Married Quarters, Sheung Shui in North District (36 flats, totally 3,674m2)


Licences issued to 2 operators providing 290 places in 20 flats.

Applications for licence from 4 operators to provide 255 places in 16 flats under consideration.

Caldecott Government Staff Quarters in Shamshuipo District


Suitability being assessed by Government Property Agency.

Total :


Hospital quarters

Prince of Wales Hospital (14 flats) in Shatin District (2,772m2) (minimum 10m2 per resident specified in tender invitation)


Re-tendering closes on 21 August 1998; Tenders under consideration.

Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Chai Wan in Eastern District


Hospital is planning to provide residential care services in some quarters.

Yan Chai Hospital in Tsuen Wan District


Suitability for setting up residential care homes being assessed.

Total :


Housing Department

Kwai Shing West Estate Ex-kindergarten site (454m2) in Kwai Tsing District


15 tenders received. Second Selection Panel Meeting held on 17.7.1998. The Housing Authority's Letting Panel Meeting has selected successful tenderer in August 1998.

Lung Tin Estate Ex-kindergarten site in Tai O (150m2)


No response to tender, probably due to remote location.

Wah Fu Estate (I) Ex-kindergarten site in Southern District (324m2)


5 tenders received. Second Selection Panel Meeting held on 17.7.1998. Letting Panel Meeting has selected successful tenderer in August 1998.

Chuk Yuen (South) Estate Ex-kindergarten site in Wong Tai Sin District (581m2)


27 tenders received. Second Selection Panel Meeting held on 17.7.1998. Letting Panel Meeting has selected successful tenderer in August 1998.

Lung Hin Court (4 residential blocks of 7,200m2 internal floor area) in Tai O


There are reservations over the remote location and access to hospital services. We are considering testing the market through inviting expression of interest.

Total :