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What is a Village House?
Is Village House a Small House? Is Village House not necessarily a Small House?

Small House and Village House are different conceptually. We may say that a Small House is also a Village House, while Village House is not necessarily a Small House. It is important to clarify the differences as the ordinance concerning both houses are different and may affect the legality of such property transaction.

There are various kinds of building land in the New Territories:
  1. Old Schedule Lot: It refers to certain lands being granted by the Block Government Lease in 1905 as building land. Most of these building lands located within the area of some traditional villages and an approval for reconstruction must be sought from the local Lands Department. No conditions of restricting sales and purchase/alienation is included in such lot, hence there is no need for Land Premium Payment.
  2. Government Lot: It refers to the lots being auctioned by the Old District Office (now Lands Department) after 1905. In general, it will restrict that the building shall not exceed two storeys and there is no need for Land Premium Payment. However, since all Government Leases kept by the government were either destroyed or lost during the Second World War, property built on such lands might suffer from title defective.
  3. New Grant Lot: It generally refers to the land in the New Territories being granted by the government in terms of individual contract after the 60s. All terms and conditions are listed out in the concerning Land Grant. If the grantee applies the land as a male descendent of indigenous residents of the New Territories in accordance to the Small House Policy in 1972, a list of strict terms restricting the sales and purchase/alienation of the property will be found in the Grant. It is required that after the completion of works, the grantee must apply for Land Premium Payment and seek written consent from the District Lands Officer before selling and alienating such Village Houses (i.e. Small Houses).
  4. Lot and Building License: It refers to the government’s approval of the land owner building house within the private area of his/her old schedule lot. Similarly, there are numerous development restrictions in the building license, e.g. location of building, number of storeys, building height, covered area and the use of building. After development, the owner must first apply for the Certificate of Compliance before selling and alienating the property. The old Building License (issued before 1972) does not include the restriction of Land Premium Payment, the owner may sell and alienate the property after acquiring the Certificate of Compliance.
Most Building Licenses issued after 1972 are granted according to the Small House Policy, like the new grants of other small houses, a series of conditions restricting the sale and purchase/alienation of property can be found. The grantee must apply for Land Premium Payment and seek written consent from the District Lands Officer before selling and alienating such Village Houses (i.e. Small Houses).
How to differentiate Village House and Small House?
The answer can only be found in Government Lease. The following two circumstances allow the building of a Small House:
  1. The Government granting suitable Crown Land in forms of New Grant Lot (rarely happened in recent years due to the limitation of Crown Land);
  2. Indigenous residents select suitable farm lots and apply for building license (the most common form at the moment);  
    Remarks: the pre-sale of uncompleted Small Houses must not be done in the name of Indigenous residents, as it is a violation to the Building License and the government may resume the land in question.