Feature Flat should be genuine rather than fake
1st June 2023
Would it be possible to purchase two adjacent flats and connect them to create a Feature Flat, instead of buying a more expensive pre-packaged Feature Flat offered by the developer's association?
If you purchase more than one flat and then modify it into a self-made connected flat, unless it was purchased in the early years, you may be fined before seeing the authorities, because under the current tax system, purchasing a second flat incurs a 15% stamp duty based on the price, and other expenses such as brokerage fees and lawyer fees are calculated separately for each flat, which can be quite significant. If both flatss require mortgage financing, the mortgage loan-to-value ratio for the second flat will be reduced by 10%, and both flat must be financed by the same bank.
Even if you successfully purchase two flatss, the fact that the two flats are adjacent on the floor plan but not part of the main wall does not necessarily mean that the two flats can be connected. First, approval from the Buildings Department is required to connect the two flats, which requires applying for renovation permits. However, whether or not the application can be approved is not solely based on whether the wall between the two flats is a main wall.
There are several factors that may be considered, including whether the property is a "limited size plot", meaning that the property must have a specified number and area of flats, such as Cheung Kong Property's Ho Man Tin development "The Vineyard", where the number of flats cannot be less than 170 and the usable area of each flat is between 377-431 square feet. If flats are combined, the total number of flats in the project will decrease, which may result in less flats than required, and there may also be a risk of exceeding the land lease requirements with regards to flat size.
If the flat has an eco-friendly terrace or working platform, the adjoining standard flat would become one with two terraces. However, the overall number of flats would decrease, which would cause a decrease in the exempted plot ratio of the housing estate, leading to the property's plot ratio exceeding the limit.
Even if there are no restrictions as mentioned above, it still depends on whether the building deed considers the walls that connect the flats as public spaces. If they are considered public spaces, they cannot be removed or opened up. In addition, many newly completed building deeds have clearly stated that the layout between flats cannot be changed, making it clear that the idea of connecting flats has been "restricted".
It is very difficult to connect two standard flats together to form a connected flat. If it is not enough, it is better to buy a larger flat, which will be more convenient and easier to calculate.