Sub-Divided Units : Property Rights and Market Versus Right to Housing

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)12_Chapter in an edited book (Author)peer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRights and Urban Controversies in Hong Kong
Subtitle of host publicationFrom the Eastern and Western Perspectives
EditorsBetty Yung, Francis K. T. Mok, Baldwin Wong
PublisherSpringer Singapore
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-99-1272-8
ISBN (Print)978-981-99-1271-1, 978-981-99-1274-2
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2023

Publication series

NameGovernance and Citizenship in Asia
PublisherSpringer Singapore
ISSN (Print)2365-6255
ISSN (Electronic)2365-6263


Sub-divided units in Hong Kong arise out of the market logic. On one hand, their emergence may be regarded as a property-right-centred market ‘solution’ to housing unaffordability, with the landlords exercising property rights to the extent of evading building regulations for economic gains in response to market ‘demand’ for low-end housing. On the other hand, sub-divided units seem to pose a societal problem when viewed from the perspective of ‘right to housing’ which essentially comprises various dimensions and incorporates the concept of ‘equal right to housing’. Such sub-divided unit issues pose two dilemmas: (a) Strict legal enforcement of building regulations may result in rent increase, thereby aggravating housing unaffordability; (b) Strict legal enforcement of ‘right to housing’ will tend to outlaw sub-divided units, thereby leading to the emergence of ‘black market’ or making the dwellers homeless in view of the difficulty of imminent mass rehousing of such dwellers. The long-term alleviation of such housing issue requires a ‘softer’ approach: (a) substantively implement the positive housing right through the provision of public rental housing and third sector housing to rehouse the sub-divided unit dwellers in decent accommodation; (b) substantively and legally enforce negative housing right, with the citizens, landlords and housing practitioners refraining from housing discrimination, especially towards the ‘doubly deprived’ low-income disadvantaged minority groups. Confucian perspectives on government’s role in relation to basic needs, care for others, profit-making among others will be used to enrich such discussion on the issue of sub-divided units.

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2023

Citation Format(s)

Sub-Divided Units: Property Rights and Market Versus Right to Housing. / Yung, Betty.
Rights and Urban Controversies in Hong Kong: From the Eastern and Western Perspectives. ed. / Betty Yung; Francis K. T. Mok; Baldwin Wong. 1. ed. Springer Singapore, 2023. p. 31-48 (Governance and Citizenship in Asia).

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)12_Chapter in an edited book (Author)peer-review