The Housing Bureau (IH) announced on Monday its proposed amendments to the Social Housing Law by defining ‘rich’ households, which would have to return their flats after four years.
IH Director Ieong Kam Wa, Vice Director Kuoc Vai Han and Chan Wa Keong, who heads the bureau’s public housing department, jointly hosted a press conference to announce details about the proposed changes.
The law on the distribution, renting and management of social housing flats took effect in 2009.
According to information provided by the bureau on Monday, the proposed amendments include a definition of “rich” social housing households and the way how to deal with them.
Currently, if a social housing tenant’s income has been in excess the legal limit for three consecutive years, or for two consecutive years if the household’s income has been double the limit, the bureau may cancel their contract unilaterally or charge them double the rent.
The proposed changes define a “rich” social housing household as one whose income is more than twice the legal limit.
Any household found to be “rich” will have to return their flat to the government. For those social housing tenants whose income is in excess of the legal limit without reaching the double of the legal limit the bureau will increase their rent.
Addressing the press conference, Ieong said the proposed amendments were aimed at providing a different way of dealing with social housing tenants who earn more than the legal limit.
Currently, the income limit for a social housing flat for a one-member household amounts to 9,340 patacas a month. Ieong also said that any social house household listed as “rich” will have to pay double the amount of rent for two years.
Ieong also said that there should be a period for the government to observe whether “rich” households continue to earn a stable income or not in which case they would have to return their flat after four years of being listed as “rich” tenants.
A 60-day public consultation period about the proposed amendments started on Monday and will end on September 6 which will include three sessions for the general public.
The IH officials did not say when they expect the amendment bill to be submitted to the legislature for debate and vote.
According to official information, 10,914 households lived in social housing flats at the end of last year. (macaunews/macaupost)