The MSAR Government will maintain rent exemptions for lower income tenants, according to a Housing Bureau release on January 1.
Tenants who do not exceed the maximum income stipulated by law, will continue to be exempt from paying monthly rent up to MOP2,000(US$250), with the rent exemption covering 12,000 social housing renters, or almost 91 per cent of all occupants.
According to the release, as of December 23 of 2016, more than 12,900 residents were living in public housing units, with the government predicting that in 2017 around 11,700 will be exempt from paying monthly rent. The release also stated that the total exemption from monthly rent payments was estimated at approximately MOP450 million.
Giving a hand
The measures for public housing leasing were implemented in 2016 in order to help low income tenants afford government housing units, and are applicable to renters with incomes under a maximum limit set by the Housing Bureau.
According to the law, the maximum monthly income limits allowing for the exemption of monthly rent start at MOP9,560 for one person, and go to MOP29,460 for a family with seven or more people.
Residents with incomes higher than the set limits are not exempt from paying monthly rent, with the government stating that the policy is intended to make owners in this category return the housing units on their own initiative.
According to the release, between January and November of 2016, a total of 34 renters living in affordable housing units who received incomes above the set maximum limits, returned their units to the Housing Bureau.
Affordable public housing was considered one of the top priorities by MSAR residents in a survey conducted by the Association of Macao New Vision, that interviewed 818 residents, revealing that the majority of respondents consider that accelerating the construction of public housing should be one of the top policy priorities of the MSAR Government.
In his 2017 Policy Address, Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Raimundo do Rosário stated that some 3,400 public housing units will be built in 2017, together with 11,000 private units to be built by developers.