Talking Points: Should there be a legal limit on how small a flat in HK can be?

Talking Points: Should there be a legal limit on how small a flat in HK can be?

Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

apartment.jpg

Imagine doing homework in a 50 square feet apartment.
Photo: Dickson Lee/SCMP

Carmen Leung, 18, TWGHs Lui Yun Choy Memorial College

A microflat is a unit with less than 200 sq ft of space. Is that what first-time buyers want? No, of course not. But, the point is that is all most Hongkongers can afford. It’s not like you get something of an amazing quality for what you pay, either. How much can you actually fit into a microflat? What sort of furniture? You would be practically eating next to your bed, or on it. I think there should be a limit on how small a space can be and still be called a flat. Let’s give Hongkongers back a decent living space.


Ngai Yeung, 17, International Christian School

I don’t believe there should be any regulations on the size of a flat. In a capitalist society like Hong Kong, the government does not get involved in people’s business activities. When it comes to supply and demand, people need to find a decent balance between what does and doesn’t work. If there is a demand for a certain product, there would be enough of it in the market. If there is no demand, then there would be no supply. The fact that really small flats exist in the first place is because there are people who can’t afford larger flats. 

Some might argue that a small living space is not healthy, or safe. Probably, but this means we have to tackle the root cause of this issue, not impose a legal limit on the size of a flat. Making  tiny flats illegal would merely add to the city’s problems, without actually solving anything.


Life inside 55 sq ft: sleeping with suitcases, cooking next to the toilet and living on less than HK$300 a week


Belle Ho, 14, Sha Tin College

Some Hongkongers live in tiny flats where they can barely stretch their legs. Hong Kong claims it’s getting richer, but how come the flats are getting smaller? We should have flats where people have room to move around and be comfortable. 

Of course, this “dream” will only become a reality if the government does something to protect the public against large corporations. It is naive to think that the housing crisis can be solved just like that, but it would be a good start. 


Hana van de Wiel, 16, Discovery College

Yes, absolutely. I, for one, do not consider a 20 sq ft space a flat. Yet, some living spaces in Hong Kong – Sham Shui Po comes to mind – are exactly this size. Flats are there for people to live comfortably in; they are not meant to be so cramped that residents are barely able to move, let alone store their belongings. It is unethical to sell living spaces that simply aren’t liveable, and there should definitely be laws in place to prevent the sale of such flats.


Olivier Lee, 15, Kellett School

I fully support such laws. The right to an adequate standard of living is recognised  in Article 25 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If there is a law banning tiny flats, it would uphold this right for the city’s residents. With more Hongkongers being forced to live in coffin homes, it’s about time the government took the initiative to improve people’s living conditions. 


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Judy Cheung, 15, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary school

Although a person’s quality of life can be affected by living in a small flat, legislating what area a space has to cover to be a living space is impossible. That’s because “small” is hard to define. There are many Hongkongers who live in cage homes and coffin homes, but outside of these tiny spaces, it’s hard to say what is wrong, and what is “too small”. That’s why there should not be a legal limit on how small a flat can be - it's impossible.


Karen Ho Ka-man, 16, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

I think there should be a legal limit on how small a flat can be. A law like that would help get poor people out of their tiny flats, and into something that will fit more than just a bed. Imagine how depressed you would be, coming home to something small and cramped after a hard day at work. Similarly, if there was a limit on how small a flat can be, there might also be a limit on how big it can be, too. Rich people would not be able to build huge homes that take up space that could be put to better use.


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In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss: 

Should the government spend money to development the e-sports industry in Hong Kong?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to yp@scmp.com by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.

Edited by Ginny Wong

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Should there be a legal limit on how small a flat can be?

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