Date
8 December 2016
Plants growing on rooftops could cause structural damage to buildings. In some cases, this is being done intentionally, according to legislator Jeremy Tam (inset). Photos: Facebook/Jeremy Tam, HKEJ
Plants growing on rooftops could cause structural damage to buildings. In some cases, this is being done intentionally, according to legislator Jeremy Tam (inset). Photos: Facebook/Jeremy Tam, HKEJ

Lawmaker exposes sinister tactics in building repossessions

Investors engaged in buying old residential buildings at auctions are using sinister tactics to force tenants out and get a good price.

The evictions are intended to enable them to avoid paying hefty compensation, news website hk01.com reports, citing lawmaker Jeremy Tam.

The tactics don’t involve intimidation but an intentional attempt to cause damage to the buildings, according to the newly elected Civic Party legislator.

He said some people have been seen planting seeds on rooftops, purportedly to cause damage to the waterproof layers when the roots and stems of the plants grow through the cracks.

Tam said the activity is clearly aimed at causing structural damage.

The building in question is a 50-year-old, nine-story, tenement block on Hong Kong Island. 

So Yiu-kwan, an expert in structural engineering, said water that seeps through the waterproof layer could speed up rusting of reinforcing steel bars.

Fixing it will cost a fortune, So said.

He said a similar case in which plants were used to cause damage occurred in a building in Sheung Wan in 2013.

Tam said the investors could use the damage as an excuse to suppress compensation to existing tenants and force the landlords to sell the property cheaply, according to Apple Daily.  

Tam said building owners should watch out for strangers to protect their property.

Also, they should pay more attention to abnormal plant growth on rooftops, he said.  

- Contact us at [email protected]

TL/AC/RA

EJI Weekly Newsletter