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URA approved maintenance cost reimbursement scheme

The Board of the Urban Renewal Authority today (9 February) approved in principle a proposed trial scheme for Maintenance Cost Reimbursement for property owners affected by land acquisition in its early launch projects at Wan Chai, Tai Kok Tsui and Sham Shui Po.

Describing the scheme as strictly ex-gratia in nature, an URA spokesperson said it was adopted to promote and encourage proper maintenance of buildings before redevelopment in order to ensure safety.

The scheme will apply to registered owners whose properties are located within the three projects, who have agreed to sell their properties to the URA.

The scheme will apply to works undertaken in response to statutory orders for maintenance and repairs made under the Buildings Ordinance, the Fire Safety (Commercial Premises) Ordinance and the Lifts and Escalators (Safety) Ordinance issued after the LDC announced the projects in early 1998.

Details of the scheme will be given to affected owners when offers are made to acquire their properties.

The URA will review the implementation of the trial scheme in the light of experience gained to see if it should be extended to other projects, the spokesperson added.

The Board also approved in principle a scheme to encourage owners of domestic properties affected by URA projects to sell their properties to the URA. The scheme will cover removal costs and expenses related to the purchase of a replacement property.

Details are being worked out and specific offers will be made to individual owners shortly.

The scheme applies to the three early projects and will be reviewed in light of the changes in market conditions for future projects.

Owing to deflation in various expenses such as removal costs, agency fees and solicitor fee, the proposed scheme is more generous in real terms than the payments made by the former LDC. It is also more generous than Government practice on land resumption.

Earlier, the Board of the URA has decided to adopt the Government policy of a seven-year-old flat as the basis for calculating the Home Purchase Allowance payable to domestic owners. This proposal is on top of the HPA figures approved in principle.