LCQ14: Building Covenant

Following is a question by the Hon Wong Sing-chi and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (July 14):


In her reply to a question raised by a Member of this Council on June 23 this year, the Secretary for Transport and Housing indicated that as at May 31, 2010, there were 21 projects on granted sites for which construction had yet to commence (commonly known as "disposed sites"), involving about 12,000 residential units, and the Government would impose a Building Covenant date in the land leases to govern the completion dates of the projects.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the locations of the projects and the number of residential units involved in each project, as well as the content of the clause on the Building Covenant date included in the land leases (including the scheduled completion dates of the projects);

(b) of the penalties to be imposed on, or the follow-up procedure to be adopted in respect of, those developers who fail to complete such projects as scheduled; the procedure adopted by the authorities for vetting and approving applications for extension of completion dates, and whether the project developers concerned will be required to provide reasons for extending the completion dates and pay any fine to the authorities;

(c) whether applications had been submitted for extending the completion dates of those projects which were completed in the past five years; if so, of the average and the longest duration of such extensions, as well as the reasons for the extensions; and

(d) of the current number of projects which cannot be completed as scheduled in accordance with the Building Covenant date, together with a list, set out according to lot number of such projects, of the names of the projects, of the total numbers of residential units, the scheduled and extended completion dates, the reasons for the extensions and the amounts of fines paid to the Government due to the extension of the completion dates?



My reply to four parts of the question is as follows:

(a) For each development project, the developer is required to complete the construction of the minimum gross floor area (GFA) specified in the land grant documents or lease conditions and obtain an Occupation Permit from the Building Authority (BA) within the Building Covenant (BC) period imposed in the relevant documents or lease conditions.  The locations of the 21 projects referred to in the question, the number of residential units involved and the BC period are attached at Annex.

(b) Should the lot owners of individual development projects anticipate that they will not be able to complete the construction of the minimum GFA specified in the land grant documents or lease conditions and obtain the Occupation Permit from the BA within the BC period, the lot owners concerned will normally apply to the Lands Department (LandsD) for an extension of the BC period with justifications.  In processing such applications, the LandsD will consider the justifications given by the lot owners and the progress of the development.  When the application is approved, the applicant will be required to comply with the conditions imposed by the LandsD, including the payment of premium.

(c) and (d) The LandsD does not have the readily available information as requested in the question.  Since the number of sites disposed of in the past five years is large and these cases are in different districts, each District Lands Office would need to deploy manpower to check the relevant case files in order to provide the information as mentioned in the question.  Faced with an increasing heavy workload in land administration, the LandsD has practical difficulty in deploying manpower to check the case files as this would affect the department's handling of other issues of public concerns.  Such views are agreeable to me.

Ends/Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:19