URA provides more incentives for building rehabilitation
The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) today (Saturday) announced
details of a new package of initiatives in response to the
Government's efforts to foster a strong culture of building
The initiatives were introduced following the Government's publication of a consultation paper to promote building management and maintenance yesterday.
The initiatives are designed to enhance both the financial and technical assistance to building owners corporations under the URA's current rehabilitation material incentive scheme and interest-free loan scheme.
First, the cost of subsidy material offered under the material incentive scheme is increased from 10 percent of works value to 20 percent or up to $3,000 per unit.
Second, the hardship grant of up to $10,000 per unit currently offered under the building rehabilitation loan scheme is extended to eligible building owners under the material incentive scheme. "This will enable those eligible owners, in particular the elderly owners who are in need of financial assistance, to undertake building rehabilitation," said Mr. Stephen Lam, District Development Director of the URA.
"Third, we have also extended the 50 percent professional fee subsidy, up to $20,000 per building, currently provided only under the material incentive scheme to buildings under the loan scheme as well," Mr. Lam said.
"Fourth, we are offering expert advice to owners' corporations who are interested in taking the opportunity of a building rehabilitation exercise to redesign the colour scheme of their buildings to make them look smarter and more attractive on the outside. We wish to offer this service as a trial to see how much a pleasing colour scheme would help brighten up a neighbourhood, particularly if a cluster of buildings would volunteer to join such effort of beautifying the built environment," Mr. Lam explained.
The URA launched the material incentive scheme and loan scheme in October 2003 and April 2004 respectively to promote voluntary building rehabilitation. It was estimated that a total of 705 buildings of 20 years old and above could benefit from the schemes in five years' time. So far about 140 buildings comprising 12,000 units have joined the schemes.
Mr. Lam said: "With the enhanced measures, we are confident that even more property owners will be motivated and encouraged to undertake voluntary building rehabilitation. We expect the new measures to cost at least $10 million more within our current $230 million budget for five years."
"It is estimated that some 10,000 property owners will benefit from the refined schemes and we expect the number of households joining the schemes will grow steadily," Mr Lam said.
Since launching the two rehabilitation schemes, the URA has also implemented a package of complementary measures with a view to providing a comprehensive range of services to owners' corporations. These included initiating with 13 banks to offer preferential mortgage loan terms for flats rehabilitated under the schemes of the URA and providing a three-year, 50 percent third party liability insurance subsidy for rehabilitated buildings.