Community & Education Hong Kong

Free rent: Government to pick up August bill for more than 700,000 housing association tenants

Hong Kong’s government confirmed today it would pay the rent of more than 700,000 families in August, in a bid to ease financial pressures facing the less well-off.

The measure was announced by Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah in his February budget.

A statement released by Hong Kong’s Housing Authority today said: “Public rental housing tenants (including interim housing licencees) of the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) paying normal rent will not be required to pay rent/licence fees for the month of August 2015.

John Tsang housing

Photo: Wikicommons.

“The Financial Secretary proposed in his 2015-16 Budget a number of one-off relief measures, including paying one month’s rent for lower income tenants living in public rental units of the HA. Funding for the rent payment was approved by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council in June. About 710 000 HA tenants will benefit from the measure.

“The Government will pay the rent for August for tenants and licencees of the HA paying normal rent. The HA will notify all relevant tenants and licencees of the arrangement.”

The move to pay the rent of hundreds of thousand of needy families was one of a package of sweeteners offered by Tsang in his budget announcement at the beginning of the year.

Other measures included handing an extra two months worth of benefits to recipients of certain allowances, including Old Age Living Allowance and Disability Allowance, mirroring a similar handout in 2008/09, following the financial crisis.

The government was left with a budget surplus at the end of 2014 of almost HK$64 billion.

Free rent: Government to pick up August bill for more than 700,000 housing association tenants