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Consultation on proposals to facilitate private redevelopment

The Government today (March 8) commenced a consultation on proposals to lower the compulsory sale threshold for three specified classes of lots under the Land (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) Ordinance with the aim of facilitating private redevelopment.

"The Government attaches great importance to facilitating private redevelopment efforts as part of its initiative to address the problem of building deterioration," a spokesman for the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau said.

"The current proposals seek to further facilitate the land assembly process for private redevelopment," the spokesman said. The ordinance stipulates that the Chief Executive in Council may specify by notice in the Gazette certain classes of lots for which a compulsory sale threshold of not less than 80% will apply. The Gazette notice is subsidiary legislation.

The Government is proposing to specify the following three classes of lots to be subject to a threshold of not less than 80% when applying to the Lands Tribunal for a compulsory sale under the LCSRO:

(i) a lot with "all units but one" acquired;
(ii) a lot with building(s) aged 40 years or above; and
(iii) a lot with missing/untraceable owners (with the number of missing/untraceable owners accounting for at least 10% of undivided shares of the lot).

"In drawing up the proposals, we have sought to maintain a careful and delicate balance between facilitating private redevelopment efforts and protecting individual property rights," the spokesman said.

Coming into operation in 1999, the ordinance provides that other than as a mortgagee, any person who owns at least 90% of undivided shares in a lot may apply to the Lands Tribunal for a compulsory sale of the entire lot for the purpose of redevelopment. The Lands Tribunal will hear the objections of the minority owners over the valuation of properties and consider, among other things, if redevelopment of the lot is justified having regard to the age or state of repair of the existing development and whether the majority owner has taken reasonable steps to acquire all the undivided shares in the lot before making an order for sale.

The Government is now seeking the views of the relevant professional bodies and the industry on the practicability of the three proposed classes of lots. Views of the community on the proposals will also be collected through various channels, including public forums, group discussions with property owners and the Government's Public Affairs Forum on the Internet.

Subject to community consensus over the proposed classes of lots, the Government plans to take forward the legislative exercise in the 2006/07 legislative session.

Copies of the proposals can be viewed and downloaded from the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau website (http://www.hplb.gov.hk/).

People are welcome to submit their views before the end of May, 2006, by fax (2845 3489), by e-mail ([email protected]) or by post (Urban Renewal Unit, Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau, 9/F Murray Building, Garden Road, Hong Kong).

Ends/Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Issued at HKT 13:00