All types of Government rent
1. How will Government rent be utilised by the Government?
Government rent is part of the Government's general revenue which will be used in the same way as other sources of revenue.
2. Why should an owner of a property be required to pay Government rent?
All land in Hong Kong is held from the Government by way of a "land grant" known as Government (formerly Crown) lease. All owners have covenanted under Government leases to pay a rent to the Government in return for the occupation or use of the land leased.
3. What are the types of Government rent?
As from 1 July 1997, there are generally four different types of Government rent, namely,
(a) Zone Government rent, which is usually a nominal amount, payable throughout the lease term as stipulated in the Government lease;
(b) Government rent payable during the renewal term of a renewable Government lease which is subject to the application of the Government Leases Ordinance (Cap. 40);
(c) Government rent equal to 3% of the rateable value from time to time of the land leased, which is assessable under the Government Rent (Assessment and Collection) Ordinance (Cap. 515) (“Rent Ordinance”); and
(d) Concessionary Government rent, which is usually a nominal amount, payable for qualifying interests held by New Territories indigenous villagers continuously since 30 June 1984, as provided for under the Rent Ordinance.
The Lands Department is responsible for the collection of zone Government rent, Government rent under the Government Leases Ordinance and concessionary Government rent. For Government rent under the Government Leases Ordinance, this Department is responsible for assessing the rent and notifying the Lands Department of the assessment for billing and collection. The Rent Ordinance is administered by this Department, which is solely responsible for the assessment and collection of Government rent under the Rent Ordinance.
Assessment and collection of Government rent under the Rent Ordinance
5. What types of Government land leases are covered by the Rent Ordinance?
In general, the following types are covered :
- properties in the New Territories and New Kowloon north of Boundary Street;
- properties with land leases granted on or after 27 May 1985; and
- properties with their non-renewable land leases extended on or after 27 May 1985 at a Government rent payable at 3% of the rateable value of the lot from time to time.
6. I am an indigenous villager owning a small house lot since the date of grant. Am I still entitled to the exemption from payment of the new Government rent if I have let the lot to a tenant instead of occupying the lot myself?
Yes. You can still enjoy the exemption from payment of the new Government rent so long as the lot is still owned continuously by you or your lawful successor, as the exemption is based on the ownership and not the occupation of the lot.
7. Will the amount of Government rent change every year?
The Government rent is calculated at 3% of the rateable value of the property and is adjusted in step with any subsequent changes in the rateable value. Therefore, if the rateable value is revised during the general revaluation, the amount of Government rent payable will also be revised.
8. Will the charge percentage for Government rent change from time to time?
No. Unlike the rates percentage charge which is determined by the Legislative Council every year, the charge percentage for Government rent will remain at 3%.
9. Is my landlord entitled to ask me, a tenant, to pay the Government rent on top of my rental payment?
It all depends on the terms of the tenancy agreement signed between you and your landlord. If there is a provision in the agreement stipulating that the tenant is liable for the Government rent, then the liability rests with you. But in the absence of any provision stating such liability in the agreement, the landlord will be liable for Government rent. If you have paid the Government rent on receipt of the Demand Note, you may claim reimbursement from the landlord.
10. I used to pay Government rent under the Rent Ordinance for my building. The building was demolished recently. The land is vacant pending for redevelopment. Am I still required to pay Government rent?
Where a site is vacant pending redevelopment or is undergoing redevelopment, the site is not assessable to rates. However, it is still subject to payment of Government rent.
11. I own a piece of land in the New Territories and have not received any demand for Government rent since 1997. I have not been granted exemption from payment of the new Government rent in respect of the land. Do I need to pay the new Government rent?
You should provide the Department with the property address and/or the lot number for checking whether the new Government rent is payable. If Government rent is payable but the property has not been assessed, valuation work will be undertaken as soon as possible. The assessment and collection may take retrospective effect from 28 June 1997 at the earliest, the date of extension of land leases generally in the New Territories with the new Government rent becoming payable. Please refer to the Government Rent Section under Our Services for details. An appropriate effective date will be determined in respect of each property.
Generally, for small agricultural land without any structures and not put to beneficial use, its rateable value usually does not exceed the minimum rateable value prescribed under the Rent Ordinance, currently at $3,000 per year. In such cases, no demand will be issued, to avoid administrative cost.