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1.

Responsibility to pay Government Rent

 

Property owners are liable to pay Government rent under their land leases.  The liability may be affected by the following Ordinances:-

 * The Government Rent and Premium (Apportionment) Ordinance [Cap. 125]
-

This apportions the liability to pay Government rent between individual owners of interests in the same lot.

 * The Government Leases Ordinance [Cap. 40]
-

This provides for the determination of Government rent payable on renewal of a Government lease which contains a right of renewal for a further term.

 * The New Territories (Renewable Government Leases) Ordinance [Cap. 152]
-

This provides for the determination of Government rent payable on renewal of certain Government leases in the New Territories which expired on 30th June, 1973.

 * The New Territories Leases (Extension) Ordinance [Cap. 150]
-

This provides for the determination of Government rent payable upon extension of certain Government leases in the New Territories to 30th June, 2047.

 * The Government Rent (Assessment and Collection) Ordinance [Cap. 515]
-

This provides for the assessment and collection of Government rent on certain Government leases extending after 28th June, 1997.

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2.

The Government Rent (Assessment and Collection) Ordinance [Cap. 515]

 

The Commissioner of Rating and Valuation is responsible to assess and collect Government rent ("the New Government Rent") under this Ordinance in respect of interests in land held under the following leases.

 *

A lease under which there is an express obligation to pay an annual rent of an amount equal to 3% of the rateable value from time to time of the land leased.

 *

A lease extended by section 6 of the New Territories Leases (Extension) Ordinance [Cap. 150].

Information on the assessment and collection of the New Government Rent are posted in Rating and Valuation Department's homepage http://www.rvd.gov.hk/.

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3.

Government Rent (other than the Government Rent under Cap. 515)
 
A Collection

The Lands Department is responsible to collect the rent in the following manner:-

 * For properties in the urban area
- Demand Notes will be issued
+ once every 6 months for rent exceeding $100.00 per annum.
+ once every 5 years for rent for $100.00 or less per annum.
 * For properties in the New Territories
- Demand Notes will be issued
+ once every year for rent exceeding $100.00 per annum.
+

once every 5 years for rent of $100.00 or less but greater than 1 cent per annum.

+ once every 10 years for rent not exceeding 1 cent per annum.

The Lands Department issues about 180,000 Demand Notes for Government rent in May and November each year.  While the great majority of owners pay promptly, in the event of default by any owners to pay the rent, Government will take appropriate action to recover the rent due as referred to in paragraph B below.

B Consequences if the Government Rent is not paid
 *

Non-payment of the rent is a breach of a covenant in the land lease and is a defect in the owner's title to the property, which may interfere with the owner's ability to sell the property, because it puts the property at risk of being re-entered by the Government.

 *

Government will take all possible recovery actions, including but not limited to, taking enforcement action by way of legal proceedings against the owner and re-entry action under the Government Rights (Re-entry and Vesting Remedies) Ordinance [Cap. 126].

 * In the event of re-entry 
-

Government becomes owner of the property and is lawfully entitled to take possession of the property and, if it so wishes, remove any occupiers, including the former owner.

-

All rights and interests of the owner in the property under the land lease, including the right to receive rent from tenants, cease and the Government may let or sell the property without the former owner being entitled to any payment or compensation.

 *

Following re-entry, the former owner may apply for cancellation under the Government Rights (Re-entry and Vesting Remedies) Ordinance [Cap. 126].  Cancellation is normally conditional on all rent arrears and Government's costs of re-entry being paid in full.  Property owners will incur additional costs to get their property back.

C Outstanding Government Rent which is due before purchasing a property
 *

Failure to settle the rent, even if the rent is for a period prior to the current owner purchasing the property, is a breach of a covenant of the land lease and will enable the Government, as landlord, to re-enter the property.

 *

The current owner should therefore ensure that all outstanding rent of the property has been paid, whether or not the outstanding rent is in respect of a period before he acquired the property.

D Purchaser to check outstanding Government rent before purchasing a property

A purchaser should ensure that the solicitor acting on his behalf in the purchase of a property confirms that the rent of the property has been paid up to date or apportioned between the vendor and himself at the date of completion.

E Enquiries on outstanding Government Rent
 * For properties in the urban area
-

in person or by post to the Government Rent and Premium Unit of the Lands Department at 1/F, North Point Government Offices, 333 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong.

- by calling the Telephone Hotline 2231 3033#. 
 

An enquiry fee of $180.00 per property is payable if a written reply is required.

 * For properties in the New Territories 
-

In person at the relevant District Lands Office which issues the rent demands.

An enquiry fee of $455.00 per lot is payable if a written reply is required.

F Change of ownership and correspondence address

Property owners are advised to notify The Director of Lands of any changes in ownership or owners' correspondence addresses so that Demand Notes for the rent can be properly issued and addressed to them.

 *

For properties in the urban area, property owners can either write to or complete the "Notification For Change of Name & Address" at the back of the Demand Note and return it to the Government Rent and Premium Unit of the Lands Department at 1/F, North Point Government Offices, 333 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong.

 *

For properties in the New Territories, change of address should be notified in writing to the relevant District Lands Office which issues the rent demands.

 *

Property owners may also visit http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/housing/moving/coa.htm  "Change of Address" to report changes of their addresses.

G Payment of Demand Notes for Government Rent
 * Demand Notes for Government rent can be paid 
- By using the Payment by Phone Service (PPS).
- By autopay.
-

By post to one of the addresses printed on the Demand Notes.

-

In person at any post office (except mobile post offices).  For locations of post offices and their opening hours, please call Hongkong Post's enquiry hotline on 2921 2222 or visit Hongkong Post's website: http://www.hongkongpost.com.

-

In person, payable in cash, at any 7-Eleven Convenience Store, Circle K Convenience Store, VanGO Convenience Store and China Resources Vanguard Supermarket in Hong Kong. The maximum limit for each transaction is HK$5,000. For details, please visit Treasury's website:
http://www.try.gov.hk/internet/ehcoll_paym_convenstore.html.

 *

Owners of properties in urban area who have not received or have lost the Demand Notes may contact the Government Rent and Premium Unit of the Lands Department at 1/F, North Point Government Offices, 333 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong or call Telephone Hotline 2231 3033# to obtain the duplicate Demand Notes for settlement.

H Frequently Asked Questions
 * What happens if I do not pay the Government rent?

Non-payment of Government rent is a breach of a covenant in the lease and puts the property at risk of being re-entered by the Government.  Please also refer to paragraph 3B above.

 *

If my property is vacant, am I still liable to pay Government rent?

Yes.  Government rent is payable no matter if the property is occupied or left vacant.

 *

I am the new owner of my property.  Am I responsible for any outstanding Government rent before my acquisition?

Yes.  Failure to pay the rent , even if the rent is for a period prior to the current owner acquiring the property, is a breach of a covenant of the land lease which enables the Government, as landlord, to re-enter the property.  Therefore, a purchaser should ensure that the solicitor or the estate agent acting on his behalf in the purchase of a property confirms that the rent has been paid up to date or apportioned between the vendor and himself at the date of completion.

 * How can I make enquiry on outstanding Government rent?

You may call Telephone Hotline 2231 3033# and quote the Government rent reference number to our staff.  If you are a potential purchaser of a property, you are encouraged to make a written enquiry of the Government rent account, either by yourself or through your solicitor.  A fee of $180.00 will be charged for a written reply for each property in urban area.
 

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You can listen to the pre-recorded messages on our system, or if you choose to talk to the operator, your call will be transferred to the "1823 . You may also call 1823 direct (operates round the clock) for LandsD's service.