Rent controls are necessary! 租管有必要!

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Rents going up 20-30% and for a business up to 100% or more each year.  Wow what a life for the common person in Hong Kong.  Incomes and business profits not going up at all.
租管有必要!
Rent controls are necessary!
實事求是考慮租管面對香港的樓價和租金年年上升,租住私人樓宇的市民的租金負擔已愈來愈大。根據2011年人口普查的數據顯示,租住私樓而收入低於貧窮線下的市民,租金佔收入中位數的比例已高達36%,即有超過一半租住私樓的貧窮人士,每月有近四成的收入須用於交租。此外,收入較高的市民亦不能獨善其身,全港租住私樓的市民租金佔收入比例的中位數為26%(紐約的數值為23%)。由於最近兩年租金上漲的趨勢持續,因此現時租金的負擔估計應較2011的情況更為沉重。面對這種情況,近年不少公民社會團體都提出政府必須重新推行租金管制。不過,剛剛發表的長策會諮詢文件,卻簡單地以「租務管制會導致租金上升」為由,否決推行租金管制的可行性。貧窮長者常遭迫遷

參考海外經驗,租金管制的實施可有不同形式,對不同市民組群的影響亦非一致,筆者認為對此政策輕易全盤否定,並非負責任的表現。

要討論租務管制的影響,應該先行討論不同形式的管制。一般而言,租務管制的方式可分為限制所有租約(不論新舊租約)的租金加幅(亦稱為第一代租金管制);或是只限制對舊有租客續租時的租金加幅(又稱為第二代租金管制),此制度實際是租住權保障,一般都會附帶其他保障租住權的措施,如保障租客免受迫遷,又或是設定最少租約期限。

現時長策會諮詢文件提及的租務管制,實際上只是回應租住權保障的政策,卻未有提及對新舊租約同時管制的考慮。

如對新舊租約同時規管,禁止加租或只准許有限度的加租,主流經濟學斷言,當租金較市場價格低,市場會減少供應租盤;但短期來說,租盤減少的程度,取決於業主除了把樓宇放租外,其他的選擇會有多少(例如把租盤變為賣盤,或收回自住),這是需要實際數據論證的問題。

長遠而言,租金管制理論上可以減少新的樓宇供應,但是在香港高地價、地產商寡頭壟斷的情況下,租金管制帶來的利潤損失,或許大部分只會造成發展商利潤減少或地價的降低,對房屋供應未必產生太大影響。更重要的是,香港的房屋供應從來就不是單由市場供求決定,政府房屋政策的簡單改變,所帶來的影響完全可以掩蓋租金管制的影響。

現時更多人、包括長策會諮詢文件,所談論的其實是租住權保障。租住權保障的目標,主要並非降低整體租金,而是要保障租戶有更穩定的生活環境。

現時基層市民經常面對加租或迫遷的困擾,最近香港社會服務聯會進行的調查顯示,近三成居於私樓的獨居年老貧窮長者,過去五年曾經搬遷兩次或以上。事實上,面對加租迫遷,亦不獨是基層人士面對的問題,相信這亦是不少中產朋友的共同體驗。

每一次的迫遷,除了搬遷所需的金錢和時間開支外,還須面對一大堆問題:兒女被迫轉校、成人被迫轉工、社會網絡解體等等。

事實上,不單被迫遷者本身,社會亦須要承擔迫遷帶來的成本:學校需要連串行政開支處理學生轉校問題;因搬遷帶來的失業、轉工,也會令社會(暫時)喪失勞動力;社會網絡解體亦意味社區少了一位可互相支援的街坊。

議價位置業主有利

租客沒有穩定居所,對租戶、對社會的整體都有負面影響;業主在商言商,如果遇到願意付出更高租金的租客,也無責任考慮上述的社會成本。推行租住權保障的目標之一,就是要透過政策創造一個更穩定的居住環境,減少因迫遷而產生的負面社會效果。

此外,租客害怕迫遷,業主與租客議價時,往往坐享更有利的位置。對租客來說,不想搬遷即意味沒有其他房屋選擇;對業主來說,租客不續租,他仍有無數租客可供選擇。因此實行租住權保障,或可因而減少業主的壟斷優勢,提高租客的議價能力,從而帶動社會租金下調。

長策會諮詢文件反對租金管制(實際是指租住權保障)的原因,將會導致新租約的租金上升(業主要補償日後不能隨便加租的損失),亦會減少新租盤的供應量,因此對新租客或短期租客不利。

不過,租住權保障的目標正正是保障舊租客不會因為有新租客願意付出較高租金而被迫遷,至於不利短期租客的問題,租住權保障背後的理念之一,是要協助維繫一種較穩定的住屋模式,政策在長期租戶與短期租戶的利益中重新作出平衡,亦屬無可口非。

任何政策都有正面和負面的影響,問題是如何在不同的政策目標和不同組群的利益中作出取捨平衡,筆者認為長策會諮詢文件簡單地把租金管制教條式地作出否定,並非實事求是的做法。

在現時租金高企的環境下,租客與業主的議價地位、市民對住屋穩定性和靈活性的取向也已發生變化,因此租金管制或租住權保障應重新納入房屋政策的討論議程;政府亦應認真羅列各種租金管制措施可能帶來的正反效果,讓市民可真正深入作出討論,建立共識。

作者為影子長策會成員
黃和平

Realistic to consider rent control

The face of Hong Kong’s property prices and rents rising every year , the people living in private housing rental burden has been getting bigger . According to 2011 census data show that renting private flats with income below the poverty line people , the median rent to income ratio has reached 36% , ie more than half of the poor people renting private flats , monthly there are nearly forty percent of the revenue shall be used to pay rent.

In addition, people with higher incomes are also not immune to the territory of the people renting private housing rent to income ratio median of 26% ( 23% of the value of New York ) . Due to the recent trend of rising rents continued for two years , so the estimated current rent burden heavier than the 2011 situation .

Faced with this situation , many civil society groups in recent years have suggested that the Government must re- implement rent control . However, just published a long strategy consultation document , but simply to ” rent control will lead to rising rents ,” the grounds, rejected the feasibility of implementing rent control .

Poor elderly were often forced eviction

Reference to overseas experience of rent control can have different forms for different groups of people nor consistent , I believe that this policy be easily negated , not responsible.

To discuss the impact of rent control , it should first discuss the different forms of regulation . Generally, rent control can be divided into restrictions on all leases ( whether new or lease ) rent increase ( also known as first -generation rent control ) ; or only limited renewal of the old tenant ‘s rent increase ( also known as second-generation rent control ) , this system is actually security of tenure , usually with security of tenure other measures, such as protection of tenants from eviction , or set a minimum term of the lease .

LTHS will consult existing documents referred to in rent control , but have actually respond to security of tenure policy , but did not mention the old and new leases for control considerations.

If both the old and new leases regulation prohibiting a rent increase or allow only limited rent increases , mainstream economics asserts , when rents than the market price is low, the market will reduce the supply of rent ; But in the short run , reducing the extent of rent , depending on the owners of the building in addition to leasing , but how many other options ( for example, the rent becomes sale , or to recover from live ) , which is required for the actual data demonstrate the problem .

In the long run , rent control can theoretically reduce new housing supply , but high land prices in Hong Kong , property developers oligopoly cases, loss of profits caused by rent control , and perhaps most developers will only result in reduced profits or premium reducing the supply of housing may not have much impact. More importantly , Hong Kong’s housing supply has never been determined by market forces alone , a simple change in the government ‘s housing policy , the impact can mask the impact of rent control .

Now more people , including long- III consultation paper , in fact, talking about the security of tenure . Security of tenure goals, not mainly lower overall rent, but to protect the tenants have a more stable living environment.

At present the grassroots often face a rent increase or eviction plagued Hong Kong Council of Social Service recently conducted survey shows that refrain elderly living in private buildings of poor elderly who live alone , have moved twice in the past five years or more . In fact , faced with eviction rent , nor independent grassroots people face problem, I believe this is also a friend of many middle-class common experience .

Every eviction , in addition to the time and money required for relocation expenses, have to face a lot of problems : children forced to change schools , adults are forced to change jobs , the disintegration of social networks and so on .

In fact, not only forced to move themselves , society will also need to bear the cost eviction : schools need to deal with a series of administrative expenses of the students change schools issue ; bring unemployment due to relocation , change jobs , will also cause social ( temporarily ) loss of labor ; disintegration of social networks also mean less of a community can support each other in the neighborhood .

Owners favorable bargaining position

Tenant without a stable residence to tenants , the community as a whole has a negative effect ; owners business, and if they are willing to pay higher rents for tenants , and no duty to consider the social costs. Implementation of one of the objectives of security of tenure , through the policy is to create a more stable living environment , reduce evictions and negative social effects.

In addition, tenants fear eviction , landlord and tenant bargaining , often enjoying more favorable position . To the tenant , do not want to move it means that there is no other housing options ; right owners, tenants do not renew , he still numerous tenants to choose from. Therefore, the implementation of security of tenure , thus reducing the owners or the monopoly advantage, improve bargaining power of tenants , thus boosting social rents downward.

LTHS consultation document will oppose rent control ( actually refers to security of tenure ) , which will be led to rising rents for new leases ( the owners to be compensated in the future not just the loss of rent ) , will reduce the supply of new rent , so the new tenant or tenant adverse short-term .

However, the objectives of security of tenure is precisely because there is no guarantee the old tenants willing to pay higher rents new tenants evicted , as adverse short-term tenant problems, the idea behind the security of tenure is one of is to help maintain a more stable housing patterns , policies in the long term interests of tenants with short-term tenants re- balanced, is also not without delicious .

Any policies have positive and negative effects , the question is how the different policy objectives and interests of different groups to make trade-offs , I think the Consultative Council consultation document simply rent control made ​​dogmatic negation is not realistic approach.

In the current environment of high rents , tenant and landlord bargaining position , the public housing stability and flexibility of orientation has also been changed, so rent control or security of tenure should be re- incorporated into the housing policy agenda ; government should seriously encompassed rent control measures may bring positive and negative effects, so that the public can make a real in-depth discussion and consensus building .

The author is a member of the shadow LTHS
Huang Heping

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