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Rent Assistance Scheme
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 Waiting List Income Level 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 a lower 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 annually 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.
8. 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. However, this one-month rent-free period is not applicable to old tenancies. 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.