6. Can I let or otherwise allow occupiers to stay at subsidized housing under the Housing Ordinance (e.g. Public Housing or Home Ownership Schemes)?
For public housing estate units, it is generally illegal for tenants/occupiers to sub-let (with or without rental income) to others without the consent of the Housing Authority. Doing so may result in both termination of tenancy by the Housing Department and/or criminal prosecution. Any infringement may also render the occupier to become ineligible to apply for tenancy for public housing within 5 years upon termination of the former tenancy agreement.
Irrespective of whether he/she is a family member, permitting another occupier to reside or occupy a unit whose name had not been included in the original household particulars as submitted to the Housing Authority may also risk the occupier to become liable involving the making of a false declaration which is a criminal offence.
In the case of ‘subsidized’ housing units (i.e. Home Ownership Scheme, Tenants Purchase Scheme, Green Form Subsidized Home Ownership Pilot Scheme and, Sandwich Class Housing Scheme), do ensure that the ‘owner’ of the property has paid the premium and obtained consent of the Housing Authority for resale/rental. A prospective tenant should demand an owner to provide a copy of a confirmation letter issued by the Housing Authority that the premium has already been paid.
Any tenancy agreement entered into may be declared as void and illegal which contravenes, amongst other provisions, section 27A of the Housing Ordinance (Cap. 283). Apart from the risk of tenancy agreement being unenforceable by the Court (e.g. any outstanding ‘rent’ or unreturned ‘deposit’ may not be recoverable and the Court may decline the grant of an order for possession in reliance of the purported ‘tenancy agreement’), both parties to such agreement may be liable to criminal prosecution and may be liable to a fine of HKD 500,000 and to imprisonment for a year.