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Land Ownership in Hong Kong – Information That You Need to Know
Land in Hong Kong is owned by the Chinese government and the Chief Executive of Hong Kong has the power to grant leases and state land to members of the public for a limited amount of time.
Leasing of Land
When China took back control of Hong Kong in 1997, it was legally agreed that all land in Hong Kong would be on a lease from the Chinese government for 50 years until 2047.
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong can thus grant leases on land by:
- granting Government leases to members of the public for a certain period of time.
- granting licenses to individuals or corporations to occupy a piece of land for special purposes and for a limited period of time (usually shorter than normal leases).
A “land owner” in Hong Kong therefore leases land from the Government for a long period of time (usually 50 years).
Property in Hong Kong
The Hong Kong property market is known for being expensive in the world due to its dense population on a city-island state. Government initiatives such as land reclamation projects and smarter urban planning have helped keep prices lower in certain areas.
There are various ways of owning property in Hong Kong:
1. Sole Ownership
Sole ownership is when a property is owned by only by one individual and they have full legal right to manage their property as they please.
2. Joint Ownership
Joint ownership is when two or more people purchase and own a property together. This type of ownership is usually more common as property in Hong Kong is expensive and it is easier to share the financial burden with another individual. There are two main ways joint ownership can be done:
- Joint tenancy: Joint tenants are treated as one sole owner and this tends to apply to married couples who purchase a property together. The interests and shares of joint tenants are equal and they both have equal ownership. When one of the joint tenants passes away, his/her interest will pass to the surviving joint tenant who will then become the sole owner.
- Tenancy-in-common: Tenants-in-common that own a property together have shares and interests that are proportional to their respective contributions to the purchase price of the property. For example, if there are 2 owners of a tenancy-in-common, the owner who contributed 75% of the purchase price would hold 3/4 shares of ownership while the remaining 24% and 1/4 ownership will go to the other owner. When a tenant-in-common passes away, their proportion of ownership and interest will form part of their estate and may be passed on to family members or whoever is stated in their will.