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No. 1 in Social Housing Builds, Taipei City Government Provides the Best Rent Subsidies

Taipei citizens are faced with high housing prices and housing affordability in Taipei. To meet the needs of the people while achieving social stability, the Department of Urban Development (DUD), has been doing its utmost to take inventory of the city-owned land since 2014. Within eight years, the development of a total of 20,429 social homes was planned, including 6,075 homes in 30 projects already completed, 8,036 homes in 24 ongoing projects, and 2,532 homes in 11 projects currently under planning and tendering. Together with a total of 3,786 units in 54 projects that were returned to the land owners, Taipei City has the highest number of social housing units in Taiwan. The city government has not stopped in its determination in the past two years. Amidst challenges such as rising prices and labor and material shortages, tendering for a total of 1,041 social housing units was completed, while 640 units are currently being advertised for tendering. In addition, taking into account the limited state-owned land resources in Taipei City, the DUD has been proactively acquiring land and housing resources via transit-oriented development (TOD) and E-Oriented Development (EOD) projects – returning ownership upon completion – as well as renovation of idle houses. To better care for the socially disadvantaged, the DUD has teamed up with the Department of Social Welfare to plan for NPOs to move into social housing, a goal which was achieved at Juguang Social Housing.

Due to the fact that renting in Taipei City has become a financial burden for many people, the equal-rent subsidy approach initiated by the central government no longer meets the needs of all families. In 2018, the city government took the lead and implemented a tiered subsidy policy for social housing and private rental housing, providing additional subsidies ranging from NT$3,000 to NT$11,000. This has significantly helped families in Taipei City, including disadvantaged families, households with three generations living together, and households with small children. In addition, the central government’s NT$30 billion rent subsidy granted to some citizens was lower than what they used to receive from the city government. To protect the rights and interests of its citizens, the city government has created its own budget to make up the difference in the amount that citizens received in 2021, helping them to reduce financial burdens.

In addition to the ongoing construction of social homes and provision of additional tiered rent grants, the DUD encourages empty housing to join the social housing leasehold management project. To attract the participation of landlords, the DUD increased the market rent to NT$39,000, and has sought approval from the central government for another 800 homes to be included in the Phase III project. Due to the high rents in Taipei City, the DUD has repeatedly appealed to the central government to relax the NT$15,000 limit of income tax as stipulated in Article 23 of the Housing Act; however, the effort has not yet been taken seriously. The DUD will continue to advocate for citizens in the hopes that the government will join forces to solve the issue of high rents.

The DUD has stressed that Taipei City has delivered great results in social housing. However, housing justice is not just a slogan—it requires the joint help of the central government and city government to reform laws and regulations regarding the transparency of information about renting, the improvement of incentives for landlords and the planning of a social housing rent policy tailored to local needs. The DUD hopes that the central government will confront this issue and improve people’s living rights.