Owners of sub-divided flats have found a new way to double their rental units — they’re sub-dividing them vertically, leaving just enough crawl space in them.
One such flat is being rented to a 64-year-old woman, surnamed Yung, for HK$1,500 (US$194) a month, Cable News reports.
For the past five years, Yung has lived in a small cell in the “upper section” of the flat which has been turned into six sub-divided units — three cells on two levels.
Yung uses a ladder to get to her cubicle which shares a washroom and toilet with other cells in the unit.
The toilet sits at the foot of the ladder.
That means if the toilet is in use, Yung can’t go in or out of her unit.
Yung’s dwelling has a four-foot clearance from the ceiling, so even when she is kneeling, she is liable to hit her head.
A small window several inches wide provides the only source of ventilation to a narrow common corridor.
Vertically sub-divided flats could be in breach of fire regulations and the building ordinance, the report says, citing a structural engineer.
He said the added load could undermine the structural integrity of other units below them.
Social workers said these types of flats with poor living conditions are commonplace in Tsuen Wan and Kwun Tong.
They said the government should speed up applications for public housing.
In a statement, the Buildings Department warned that these types of sub-divided flats pose fire and health hazards and may compromise the load-bearing capacity of buildings.
It vowed to take action to resolve the situation.
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