From 2014 onward, Link REIT has tendered many properties for sale, including more than 20 shopping centers in public housing estates, wet markets and parking lots. These divestments have occurred all over Hong Kong earning Link REIT an amount estimated to be over HK$ 10 billion. However, after various purchasers had to pay exorbitant amounts for their property, they then turned around and tried to “squeeze every last penny” off their tenants in an unnecessary manner. Some of the new property owners are planning to sell off every individual parking space in order to make more profits. Some of the new owners raised the rent for parking spaces significantly, while others raise the rent to exorbitant amounts under the guise of “renovations”.
Some of the new owners have simply changed the original purpose of the property that had served the residents of the local area, for example by changing the wet market into a tutoring center or a shopping center into a set of classrooms. In properties where the sale fell through or where the property cannot be re-purposed to something more profitable, management becomes lackadaisical, public facilities and hygiene become disgusting and 9 out of 10 shops or stalls go empty. All of these actions gravely and adversely affect the daily lives of local residents and hit local businesses hard. As Link REIT initiated all this, it bears the greatest responsibility for these actions.
Through media investigation, it seems that Link REIT is planning to divest many more properties under its jurisdiction. Therefore, we reiterate that we stand firmly opposed to such divestments by Link REIT and we demand that Link REIT halt its plans for further divestment.