Housing

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1.
Short title
This Act may be cited as the Housing Act.

2.
Interpretation
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
“approved” means approved by the Corporation;
“dwelling” means a building the whole or part of which is intended to provide residential accommodation;
“grant” means a grant of money made to a local authority out of the Housing Fund under the provisions of section 7(1)(a) of this Act;
“Housing Fund” means the Fund established under section 6 of this Act;
“scheme” means a proposal for the construction of several approved dwellings including such other proposals as may be necessary or desirable or incidental thereto by way of the provision of roads, drains, open spaces, places of worship, places of recreation, facilities for social welfare and trading, and the acquisition, laying out, subdivision and development of land comprised within the area of the scheme;
“the Corporation” means the National Housing Corporation established by section 3 of this Act. [Act No. 42 of 1960, s. 3, Act No. 9 of 1967, Sch., Act No. 18 of 1967, s. 3.]

3.
Establishment and constitution of National Housing Corporation
(1) There is hereby established a National Housing Corporation which shall be a body corporate by that name with perpetual succession and a common seal, and which shall perform the duties and have the powers conferred on it by this Act.
(2) The Corporation shall consist of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, a person appointed by the Minister for the time being responsible for Finance and not less than six nor more than eight other members appointed by the Minister, being persons who in his opinion possess special knowledge of housing development or housing finance and of whom at least three shall be public officers, and the Minister shall designate one of the members to be chairman.

(3) Appointed members of the Corporation shall each hold office for a period of three years or such longer period as the appointing Minister may think fit, but an appointment may be cancelled at any time by the Minister who made it.
(4) The Corporation shall have power to enter into contracts, to hold and dispose of property both movable and immovable, and may sue and be sued in its corporate name.
[Act No. 21 of 1966, Second Sch., Act No. 9 of 1967, Sch., Act No. 18 of 1967, s. 4, Act No. 8 of 1968, Sch.]

4.
Meetings and procedure of Corporation
(1) In the absence of the chairman from any meeting of the Corporation, a person shall be chosen by the members present at the meeting, from their number, to preside at such meeting.
(2) The quorum of the Corporation shall be four members, of whom at least two shall be public officers and at least two shall be persons who are not public officers.
(3) The person acting as chairman of any meeting of the Corporation shall have a deliberative vote and, in the case of an equality of votes, shall also have a casting vote. A decision of the majority of the members present and voting at a meeting of the Corporation shall be deemed to be the decision of the Corporation.
(4) The Corporation shall have power to act notwithstanding a vacancy among the members thereof, and all acts done at any meeting of the Corporation shall, notwithstanding that it was afterwards discovered that there was some defect in the appointment of a person purporting to be a member of the Corporation, be as valid as if that defect had not existed.
(5) Subject to this section, the Corporation shall have power to regulate its own procedure.
(6) The seal of the Corporation shall be authenticated by the signature of the chairman of the Corporation, or any other member of the Corporation, authorized in that behalf, and the officer for the time being the managing director of the Corporation, and such seal shall be officially and judicially noticed.
(7) All documents, other than those required by law to be under seal, made by, and all decisions of the Corporation may be signified under the hand of the chairman, or any other member of the Corporation authorized in that behalf.
[Act No. 18 of 1967, ss. 5, 10, Act No. 22 of 1987, Sch.]

5.
Accounts and report of Corporation
(1) The Corporation shall cause to be kept proper books of accounts, records and vouchers in relation to its funds and activities, and shall, within four months (or such longer period as the Minister may approve) after the end of each financial year, cause to be prepared, signed and transmitted to the auditor—
(a) a capital account;
(b) a balance sheet;
(c) a statement of income and expenditure; and
(d) such other accounts as the Minister may require.

(2) The accounts of the Corporation shall be examined, audited and reported upon annually by the auditor.
(3) The Corporation shall, when required by the auditor so to do, produce and lay before the auditor all accounts of the Corporation, with all vouchers in support thereof, and all books, papers and writings in its possession or control relating thereto, and the auditor shall be entitled to require from all members, officers and servants of the Corporation such information and explanations as he may deem necessary for the purposes of his duties as auditor.
(4) The Corporation shall, within a period of six months (or such longer period as the Minister may approve) after the end of each financial year, furnish to the Minister a report on its operations during that year, the accounts, balance sheet and statement referred to in subsection (1) of this section, and the auditor’s report for that year.
(5) The reports furnished under subsection (4) of this section, and the capital account and such accounts and statements as the Minister deems sufficient, shall be laid by the Minister before the National Assembly within the next fourteen days on which the Assembly is sitting after they have been so furnished, and shall be published in the Gazette by the Corporation.
(6) For the purposes of this section—
“auditor” means the Auditor-General (Corporations);
“financial year” means any period of twelve months which the Corporation may adopt as its financial year for accounting purposes:
Provided that, where at any time the financial year of the Corporation is changed, the period between the end of the old financial year and the beginning of the new shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to constitute a financial year and the word “annually” in subsection (2) shall be construed accordingly.
[Act No. 42 of 1960, s. 4, Act No. 9 of 1967, Sch., Act No. 18 of 1967, s. 10, Act No. 12 of 1985, Sch.]

5A.
Bank account
The Corporation shall keep all moneys belonging to it in a bank approved by the Minister.
[Act No. 18 of 1967, s. 6.]

6.
Establishment of Housing Fund
(1) There is hereby established a Housing Fund under the control of the Corporation, consisting of such securities and money and applicable to such purposes as are provided for by this Act.
(2) There shall, by virtue of this Act and without further assurance, become vested in the Corporation the right of the Government to demand, sue for and recover, and give receipts for, and the benefit of all securities for every loan made to a local authority by the Government out of the Housing Fund established under the Housing Ordinance (Cap. 142 of 1948 now repealed) to the extent to which such loans, at the commencement of this Act, remain outstanding, and all moneys received by the Corporation on account of every such loan shall be carried to the Housing Fund.
(3) There shall also be paid to the Corporation and carried to the Housing Fund—
(a) all such moneys as may from time to time be voted or appropriated by Parliament for payment into the Housing Fund;
(b) the repayments of principal or interest made by any local authority on account of any loan referred to in subsection (2);
(c) all repayments of principal or interest made by any local authority, company, society or individual person, on account of any loan made by the Corporation under this Act;
(d) all such sums as may from time to time be borrowed by the Corporation in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act; and

(e) all such sums as may from time to time become due upon any investment made by the Corporation in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.
[Act No. 9 of 1967, Sch., Act No. 18 of 1967, s. 10.]

7.
Loans and grants by Corporation and repayments of loans
(1) The Corporation may, from the Housing Fund and from time to time, in the manner provided by this Act—
(a) lend or grant money to any local authority, for the purpose of enabling the authority to exercise any of the powers conferred upon it by this Act;
(b) make loans to any company, society or individual person for the purpose of enabling such company, society or individual person to acquire land and construct thereon approved dwellings or to carry out approved schemes;
(bb) make loans to organizations established for promoting the development of housing;
(c) construct dwellings, carry out approved schemes and lay out and provide services for approved schemes;
(d) acquire any land or building, or estate or interest therein, for any of the purposes of this Act;
(e) maintain any land or building, or estate or interest therein, for any of the purposes of this Act;
(f) appoint and employ on such terms and condition as the Corporation may determine such officers and servants as it may deem necessary;
(g) pay such allowance to members of the Corporation as the Minister may, in writing, approve.

(2) Every loan made by the Corporation under this Act shall bear interest at such rate as the Corporation may from time to time prescribe.
(3) The Corporation, in considering the propriety of making a loan to any company, society or individual person, shall have regard to the financial position of the company, society or individual person and the sufficiency of the security for the repayment thereof.
[Act No. 18 of 1967, ss. 7, 10.]

7A.
Power of the Corporation to guarantee loans
(1) The Corporation may guarantee the repayment of the principal money and interest and other charges in respect of any loan which has been made to a person for the purpose of enabling him to buy or construct an approved dwelling or to carry out an approved scheme, upon—
(a) that person entering into an agreement with the Corporation to reimburse to it any money which it is called upon to pay under the guarantee; and
(b) security being provided for the due performance of such agreement.

(2) Security to be provided under subsection (1)(b) shall be—
(i) a right of pre-emption of the property given to the Corporation by the first mortgagee; and
(ii) such other security (if any) as the Minister may in any particular case authorize.

(3) Any moneys which the Corporation is called upon to pay under guarantee given under subsection (1) of this section shall be provided from the Housing Fund.
[Act No. 18 of 1967, s. 8.]

7B.
Other powers of Corporation
The Corporation may—
(a) undertake and encourage research and experiment in housing related matters, and undertake and encourage the collection and dissemination of information concerning housing and related matters;
(b) take part in housing exhibitions and other forms of publicity;
(c) undertake and encourage the provisions of training in furtherance of the purposes of this Act and provide training for members of its staff;
(d) perform such other duties connected with housing as the Minister may direct.
[Act No. 18 of 1967, s. 8.]

7B.
Other powers of Corporation
The Corporation may—
(a) undertake and encourage research and experiment in housing related matters, and undertake and encourage the collection and dissemination of information concerning housing and related matters;
(b) take part in housing exhibitions and other forms of publicity;
(c) undertake and encourage the provisions of training in furtherance of the purposes of this Act and provide training for members of its staff;
(d) perform such other duties connected with housing as the Minister may direct;
(e) to operate a housing finance institution with powers to borrow funds from the Government, overseas agencies, pension and trust funds and any other institution or persons, as well as to collect deposits and savings from the public to be applied to the financing of residential housing development and related matters; and
(f) to establish, promote or aid in establishing or promoting, constitute, form or organise companies syndicates or partnerships alone or in conjunction with any other person or institutions for the carrying on of any such functions as the Corporation is empowered to carry on under this Act.
[Act No. 18 of 1967, s. 8, Act No. 21 of 1990, Sch.]

8.
Charge of loan on rates and revenues of local authority
All loans made to a local authority by the Board shall be charged indifferently on all rates and revenues of the local authority.

8.
Charge of loan on rates and revenues of local authority
(1) All loans made to a local authority by the Corporation shall be secured against the development financed by the loan advanced or against or in addition to any other specific immovable property owned by the local authority.
(2) The Corporation shall be a party to any contract or agreement between any person and the local authority advanced such loans with power to assume all the rights and remedies of such local authority in respect of developments financed by funds advanced by the corporation.
[Act No. 21 of 1990, Sch.]

9.
Powers in relation to rate where default made
(1) If any local authority having power to levy rates or taxes or impose and collect dues or cesses shall neglect to pay any moneys due to the Board in respect of any loan granted under this Act, the Governor in Council may, at any time after the expiry of sixty days from the date on which such moneys become due and payable, forthwith impose and levy a rate or tax of sufficient amount which may be imposed or levied by the local authority and impose and recover any dues or cesses which may be imposed and recovered by the ocal authority.
(2) For the purpose of this section the Governor in Council shall have all the powers vested in the local authority for imposing, levying and recovering rates upon all rateable property and improvements thereon within its jurisdiction and for imposing, levying and recovering taxes and for imposing and recovering such dues and cesses as aforesaid.
(3) The Governor in Council in making an estimate of the rate or tax to be levied or of the dues or cesses to be imposed for the purpose of paying any sum due to the Board as aforesaid, may add such sum as the Governor in Council thinks sufficient for defraying and may defray thereout, all costs, charges and expenses, including remuneration to any officer or other person employed, incurred in the execution of the powers conferred by this section or otherwise by reason of the default in payment of the sum due to the Board as aforesaid.
(4) If, after payment out of the proceeds of any such rate or tax or dues or cesses of the sum due to the Board as aforesaid and of the expenses of and incidental to the imposition, levy and recovery of such rate or tax or dues or cesses, there remains any balance, such balance shall be paid over to the local authority whose default led to the exercise by the Governor in Council of his powers under this section.
[Act No. 9 of 1967, Sch., Act No. 18 of 1967, s. 10.]

9.
Powers of the Corporation where local authority is in default
(1) Where a local authority defaults in the repayment of debt charges due to the Corporation, the Corporation shall take over the management of the property developed by the local authority using funds borrowed from the Corporation and assume collection of any monies payable to the local authority by the beneficiary or any other person as provided in section 8(2) until the outstanding debt is recovered substantially or in full.
(2) Upon taking over the management of the property under subsection (1), the Corporation shall have the same rights and obligations as the local authority has in respect of the developments financed with funds provided by the Corporation.
(3) Any shortfall experienced as a result of the Corporation exercising its powers under this section shall be recovered from any other securities provided by the local authority or as civil debt recoverable summarily.
[Act No. 9 of 1967, Sch., Act No. 18 of 1967, s. 10, Act No. 21 of 1990, Sch.]

9.
Powers of the Corporation where local authority is in default
(1) Where a local authority defaults in the repayment of debt charges due to the Corporation, the Corporation shall take over the management of the property developed by the local authority using funds borrowed from the Corporation and assume collection of any monies payable to the local authority by the beneficiary or any other person as provided in section 8(2) until the outstanding debt is recovered substantially or in full.
(2) Upon taking over the management of the property under subsection (1), the Corporation shall have the same rights and obligations as the local authority has in respect of the developments financed with funds provided by the Corporation.
(3) Any shortfall experienced as a result of the Corporation exercising its powers under this section shall be recovered from any other securities provided by the local authority or as civil debt recoverable summarily.
(4) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Act or of any other written law, the Corporation may take over the management, control and title to any property developed by a local authority which is in default using funds provided, secured or guaranteed by the Corporation upon the expiry of a ninety days’ notice given by the Corporation to the local authority:
Provided that the Corporation shall compensate for the undeveloped site value of such property upon the vesting of title in the Corporation under this subsection.
[Act No. 9 of 1967, Sch., Act No. 18 of 1967, s. 10, Act No. 21 of 1990, Sch., Act No. 7 of 2007, Sch.]

10.
Charge of service of loan to particular account
Where a loan is made by the Corporation to meet any expenditure of a local authority which is chargeable to a particular account, there shall be debited to that account all sums required for repayment of the principal of the loan, or for payment of interest thereon.

11.
Powers of local authorities
Any local authority may—
(a) out of loans or grants made to it from the Housing Fund—
(i) acquire land, construct approved dwellings and carry out approved schemes within the area of its jurisdiction;
(ii) with the approval of the Corporation, acquire land and construct approved dwellings or carry out approved schemes outside its area of jurisdiction; and

(b) sell or let on such conditions as may be specified by the Corporation any dwelling constructed by it:
Provided that all moneys received by the local authority from the sale of any dwelling shall be appropriated to the reduction or extinction of any existing debt incurred for the construction of such dwelling.

12.
Loans by local authorities for construction of dwellings
Any local authority may, out of any loan or grant made to it from the Housing Fund, make a loan to any company, society or individual person for the purpose of enabling such company, society or individual person—
(a) to acquire land within the area of jurisdiction of such local authority and construct thereon approved dwellings; or
(b) to carry out therein an approved scheme:
Provided that no such loan shall exceed such proportion of the estimated cost of the land and dwelling or scheme as the Corporation may determine either generally or specially.

13.
Repayment of loans
(1) Every loan made under this Act shall be repayable by such instalments as the Corporation or the local authority, as the case may be, shall specify and within a period not exceeding forty years or such other period as may be prescribed by the Minister.
(2) Where a loan has been made repayable within a period less than the full period allowed by subsection (1) of this section, the Corporation or the local authority, as the case may be, if the repayment of the loan with interest is in its opinion sufficiently secured, may extend the period for the repayment thereof to a period not exceeding the full period from the date of the loan.

14.
Security for loans
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, every loan made to a company, society or individual person shall be secured by a first mortgage or charge over the land on which the dwelling is to be constructed or is situate or, as the case may be, over the land acquired for the approved scheme, together with all the buildings and improvements on such land, and on such further security or on any other security, as the Corporation or the local authority, as the case may be, may require.
(2) The Corporation may prescribe the form of such first mortgage or charge, and the affixation of the seal of the Corporation or the local authority, as the case may be, to any mortgage or charge purporting to be made under the provisions of this Act shall be conclusive evidence that the same is in the prescribed form.

15.
Loan may be made notwithstanding that land not surveyed etc.
(1) Any loan may be made notwithstanding that the land in respect of which the loan is made has not been surveyed or that such a map or plan of the land as any officer concerned with the registration of the title to or the title deeds of such land is bound to accept for the purpose of registering any dealing with the land is not, for the time being, registered or available for registration.
(2) Upon making such a loan the Corporation, or the local authority, as the case may be, may require the execution of such documents as will ensure—
(a) that the loan will, immediately upon the issue or completion of such grant, lease, purchase or other acquisition as aforesaid, become secured as a first mortgage or charge upon the land in favour of the Corporation or local authority;
(b) that, pending the creation of such first mortgage or charge, no mortgage or charge of the land which would or might rank in priority thereto shall be created.


16.
Discharge of security and repayment of loan
Upon all money due upon any loan being fully paid, the Corporation or the local authority, as the case may be, shall, when required, give to the local authority, company, society or individual person as aforesaid a receipt in writing for the same, and such further sufficient discharge (if any) as may be necessary, and upon such receipt being given the rates and revenues of the local authority or the land mortgaged or charged, as the case may be, shall be released from the charge created by section 8 of this Act, or the first mortgage or charge, as the case may be.

17.
Rate of interest on loans
The rate of interest payable on a loan made by a local authority shall not exceed the rate of interest which the local authority is liable to pay in respect of the money from which the loan has been made by more than one-half percentum, and such loans or instalments thereof shall bear interest from the date of issue.

18.
Remedies in respect of loans
(1) If an individual person to whom, or a company or society to which, a loan has been made—
(a) fails to pay any amount due in respect of the principal or interest of the loan; or
(b) has not applied the whole or any part of the loan to the specific purpose for which it was made; or
(c) fails to make such progress as the Corporation or the local authority, as the case may be, considers reasonable with an approved dwelling or approved scheme; or
(d) fails to comply with any condition on which the loan or any part thereof was made; or
(e) becomes bankrupt, or is placed in liquidation,
the Corporation or the local authority, as the case may be, may either proceed to recover the amount outstanding on account of the loan together with all interest due thereon, by action in a competent court, or may, by an officer authorized in writing by it and without obtaining any judgment or order of any court, enter upon and take possession of the land and premises on which the loan is secured, using force, if necessary, for that purpose; and may thereupon sell, by public auction or after public tender, the said land and premises and transfer it to the purchaser and give a good and valid title thereto notwithstanding that such land and premises may have been mortgaged or charged in favour of some other person:
Provided that—
(i) if the land and premises are so mortgaged or charged, the Corporation or the local authority, as the case may be, shall transmit to the second or subsequent mortgagee or chargee at his last known abode or office or place of business, three weeks before the date fixed for the sale, notice by prepaid registered post of such intention in order that such mortgagee or chargee may redeem the loan, if he so desires;
(ii) except in the event of the bankruptcy of the person, or the liquidation of the company or society as aforesaid, the Corporation or the local authority, as the case may be, shall before exercising its power of entry and sale hereunder, give three months’ notice by prepaid registered letter addressed to such individual person at his last known place of abode or office or business, or to such company or society at its office or place of business, of its intention as aforesaid.

(2) If any such dwelling is not completed, the Corporation or the local authority, as the case may be, may in its discretion complete the same before such sale. The proceeds of such sale shall be applied in payment of all sums due to the Corporation or the local authority, including the cost of completing any such dwelling and of the sale; and the balance (if any) shall be paid to the individual person to whom, or the company or society to which, the loan was made or to any other person who is the legal representative thereof or is otherwise entitled to receive such balance.
(3) The Corporation or a local authority may itself purchase any land and premises sold by public auction as aforesaid and take transfer of any dwelling sold as aforesaid and treat the same as if it had been constructed by the Corporation or by the local authority under this Act, and no stamp duty or registration charges shall be payable on transfer to the Corporation or to the local authority.
(4) Any officer having any duties in connexion with the registration of the title to or the title deeds of any such land and premises as aforesaid shall make all the necessary entries in his registers and sign all documents necessary to give effect to this section.

19.
Approved schemes and dwellings may be exempted from by-laws, etc.
The Minister for the time being responsible for Local Government may, on the application of the Corporation, declare that any by-law or resolution made by a local authority which is inconsistent with the conditions of approval specified by the Corporation in respect of any dwelling or scheme, shall, in so far as it is inconsistent, not apply to the approved dwelling or scheme.
[Act No. 42 of 1960, s. 5.]