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Rent Assistance Scheme

Public housing issues

The Rent Assistance Scheme (RAS) was first introduced on 1 September 1992 to grant relief in the form of rent reduction to domestic tenants in PRH and licensees in Interim Housing (IH) who are facing temporary financial hardship. Successful applicants are entitled to a 50% rent reduction.

The eligibility criteria for elderly tenants, found under Chapter 2, Section B of the Polices on Public Housing are as follows:

  1.  They form an Elderly Household (i.e. all household members aged 60 or above) with income below 70% of the Income Limit for PRH or with a Rent to Income Ratio exceeding 18.5% (figures are subject to review from time to time by the HA).
  2. The tenant/licensee and all family members included in the tenancy agreement/licence do not own any domestic property in Hong Kong.
  3. The family should not be occupying a flat whose size exceeds the respective maximum allocation standard. However, the last remaining tenant of a converted one-person flat who has accepted an automatic offer to occupy the whole flat may apply even though he occupies a flat exceeding the prevailing maximum allocation standard.
  4. The applicant’s household is not receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) with a rent allowance.
  5. Households living in newer block types (Harmony blocks and HOS/PSPS/BRO transferred blocks or any other block types whose construction was complete on or after 1992) may not apply for rent assistance unless (a) they have lived in the flat for at least two years, (b) have been affected by a rent increase after a rent review, or (3) there has been a drastic change in family circumstances resulting in adverse effect on their household income.
  6. Tenants affected by redevelopment are allowed to apply for rent assistance immediately upon being rehoused in new or refurbished flats.
  7. The eligibility of all RAS beneficiaries is reviewed biennially to determine whether rent assistance should continue to be granted to them. RAS beneficiaries should take the initiative to inform the Housing Department if there is an increase in their household income or a change in number of family members. The HA will also conduct random checking to guard against possible abuse.
  8. After RAS has been granted, RAS beneficiaries should also take the initiative to inform the Housing Department to stop the rent assistance when they become recipients of CSSA with rent allowance.
  9. After receiving rent assistance for four consecutive years, non-elderly RAS recipients living in newer block types in need of further assistance will be required to move to cheaper accommodation if suitable flats are available. Suitable flats refer to those in the same District Council with monthly rent at least 20% less than the full monthly rent (i.e. the rent payable if rent assistance is not available) of the flats occupied by the RAS beneficiaries concerned.

Upon acceptance of a housing transfer, RAS beneficiaries are entitled to receive a Domestic Removal Allowance and will enjoy a rent-free period of one month in respect of the new tenancy. Families who refuse to transfer may stay in their flat, but they will no longer receive rent assistance.

Elderly households, households with disabled members, and all RAS beneficiaries living in older block types (except under-occupation cases) are exempt from the requirement of moving to cheaper accommodation.