Low-income housing distribution 'must be fair'

Updated: 2012-02-08 09:24

By Zheng Jinran and Li Fangchao (China Daily)

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Li says inspection teams will be sent to monitor entire process

BEIJING - The State Council will set up inspection teams to monitor the quality and distribution of low-income housing projects, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said.

Speaking at a national meeting on affordable housing in Beijing on Monday, Li stressed the importance of fair distribution.

As the national housing projects are completed or near completion, distribution is the next "key phase", he said.

"We should bear in mind the importance and urgency of distribution," he told construction officials in charge of the projects. "While ensuring the quality, we should also ensure the efficiency and fairness of the distribution."

The projects are government-subsidized homes and will provide accommodation for low-income earners.

Their construction and urban renovation are part of national efforts to provide affordable housing.

The government should keep a close watch on the application and review process, he said and an examination of the applicant's income and assets should be done before any decision is made.

A redressing mechanism should also be established to disqualify those who fail to meet requirements.

"The whole process should be transparent and open to public scrutiny all the time," he said.

Government officials should disqualify those who fabricated credentials to buy or rent, he said. Officials who are found to be involved in any scams will be punished.

Wu Jingli, 56, a retired woman who still lives with her parents, both in their 90s, in the Xicheng district of Beijing, said she has been on the waiting list to rent a subsidized apartment for years.

"I know some people in my community who can afford to rent at market prices, but they also applied for government-subsidized apartments. I hope the authorities can filter them out of the queue and give us a better chance," she said.

Chen Baocun, deputy secretary-general of the National Real Estate Manager Alliance, said ensuring fair distribution is a tough task.

Verification of applicant credentials is the most difficult part, he said.

There should be strict regulation to supervise the distribution, he said.

Distribution of subsidized homes in first-tier cities, such as Beijing, is better than second- and third-tier cities due to public scrutiny, he said.

Governments at all levels have been boosting efforts to expand the supply of affordable housing in 2012. The number of subsidized units under construction this year will reach 18 million and 5 million are expected to be finished this year, according to figures from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.