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Ombudsman probes Government’s regulation of guesthouses

12 June 2014

The Ombudsman, Ms Connie Lau, declared today (June 12) a direct investigation into the Government’s regulation of guesthouses.


The Office of The Ombudsman has received, from time to time, complaints from the public that the Home Affairs Department (HAD) is too lax in issuing licences to guesthouses without considering the hazards and nuisance that may be caused to people residing in the same building. In some cases, the complainants alleged that the HAD had issued licences even though operation of guesthouses was in violation of the deeds of mutual covenant of the buildings.


Other complainants reproached HAD for its ineffective enforcement against unlicensed guesthouses, resulting in the proliferation of such unlicensed establishments. Many such cases may pose fire and structural risks to the buildings.


The Ombudsman has decided to initiate a direct investigation to probe into the HAD’s current system and procedures for regulating guesthouses, with a view to identifying inadequacies, if any, and making recommendations to the HAD for improvement.


The Ombudsman welcomes public views and information in connection with this investigation. Comments or information in writing should reach the Office of The Ombudsman by July 14:


Address    : 30/F, ChinaMerchantsTower, Shun Tak Centre


168-200 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong


Fax            : 2882 8149


Email        :




Office of The Ombudsman


June 12, 2014




* The Office of the Licensing Authority (OLA) under HAD is responsible for licensing and enforcement under the Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation Ordinance. When processing a licence application, OLA will assess the fire and structural safety of the premises to be used for the guesthouse. For violation of the regulations or unlicensed operation, OLA will prosecute the operator when sufficient evidence is to hand.

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