Ruling out trouble: Unacceptable behaviour and its control in Hong Kong's public housing

Yung YAU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Resident satisfaction is contingent not only on housing design and construction, but also on neighbourhood quality. However, many neighbourhoods around the world are distressed by neighbourhood nuisances or unacceptable behaviour of the residents. While interventionist approaches and incentives have been adopted in many countries to curb these problems, a punitive measure is used in Hong Kong instead. The Housing Department launched the Marking Scheme for Tenancy Enforcement in Public Housing Estates immediately after the SARS epidemic. The scheme operates as a penalty-point system where sitting tenants will be expelled from public housing if they receive sixteen points for the misdeeds they have committed. Yet, the marking scheme itself was put onto the stage without any prior public consultation. Besides, it has been criticised for its unfair and tenure-biased enforcement. Also, whether the scheme is widely accepted is highly doubtful. Against this background, this study aims to explore the tenants' views regarding residents' unacceptable behaviour and the marking scheme in Hong Kong's public housing. The findings of this research offer valuable insights into the perceived extent and causes of the neighbourhood problems. Moreover, this research lets the public administrators know the acceptability of the marking scheme among public housing tenants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalHabitat International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work described in this paper was fully supported by a grant from City University of Hong Kong (Project No. 9610143 ). The author would also like to express gratitude to the student helpers in City University of Hong Kong for assistance offered in the data collection process.


  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Housing management
  • Neighbourhood problems
  • Nuisances
  • Social controls


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