Space cap­sules of­fer cheap HK hous­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By LIN WENJIE in Hong Kong cher­rylin@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Hong Kong is widely known for its high rents and tiny homes. As a re­sult, a lo­cal land­lord is bring­ing “space cap­sule pods” to the city, which can be stacked to­gether to ease the hous­ing crunch, adding a new ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tion for univer­sity stu­dents and young work­ers.

A lo­cal rental web­site shows that 10 cap­sule pods in a 90 square me­ter dor­mi­tory are cur­rently avail­able for rent in Sai Ying Pun — the north­west­ern part of Hong Kong Is­land, nearHongKong Univer­sity and the main busi­ness dis­trict Cen­tral.

The rental price for each cap­sule pod starts at HK$4,500 ($580) per month. In a three-bed­room apart­ment, four cap­sules were stacked in the sit­ting-room and two cap­sules were in­stalled as bunk beds in each bed­room.

One kitchen and one bath­room will be shared by all the ten­ants.Each pod, which is 1.9 me­ters long, 1 me­ter wide and 1.15me­ters high, is slightly larger than a twin bed. In spite of their small size, cap­sule pods come com­plete with a bed, ven­ti­la­tion fan, light switches, a com­puter ta­ble and power out­lets.

The apart­ment’s land­lord said: “The reg­u­lar price to rent a pod per month is HK$4,500, but I can give you a dis­count if you de­cided to rent. The low­est price ev­ery month is HK$3,800, plus a HK$1,000 de­posit,” adding that he bought the cap­sules pods from Mi­cane Tech­nol­ogy, a com­pany based in Guangzhou.

The land­lord, Wong, who re­fused to give his full name, said the cap­sule pods are very pop­u­lar, and two had al­ready been taken by young work­ers.

“We pro­vide all the fur­ni­ture and clean­ing ser­vices. You don’t need to pay an elec­tric­ity or wa­ter bill, or bother to set up Wi-Fi con­nec­tion. We do ev­ery­thing for you.”

Apre-sales con­sul­tant from Mi­cane Tech­nol­ogy told China Daily that it mainly sells cap­sule pods to main­land ho­tels, with each pod start­ing from 2,990 yuan ($446).

As it’s rel­a­tively cheap to in­vest in a ho­tel in the main­land, the land­lords can gen­er­ally break even in one year.

The launch of cap­sule pods has aroused safety con­cerns from the pub­lic.

“The SAR Build­ings De­part­ment has checked our place to make sure we meet the fire safety stan­dard. We are able to lease the pods to the pub­lic now,” Wong said.

Ac­cord­ing to Hong Kong’s Home Af­fairs De­part­ment, if a ten­ant’s ac­com­mo­da­tion pe­riod is longer than 28 con­tin­u­ous days, the land­lord is not re­quired to ap­ply for a li­cense.

It’s not the first time that “space cap­sule pods” have ap­peared in Hong Kong. As early as 2012, a cap­sule ho­tel was about to open in the same dis­trict.

The surg­ing house prices and sky­rock­et­ing rents in Hong Kong are push­ing peo­ple to live in sub­di­vided homes or “cage homes”. The av­er­age monthly rental of sub­di­vided homes ranges from HK$3,500 to HK$10,000, while cage homes were gen­er­ally priced at HK$2,000 per month.

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