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Whenever possible we will try to improve housing standards by providing information, guidance and general support to landlords, leaseholders and owner-occupiers. To support this we have developed a range of financial products available to owners and developers who want to bring an empty property back into use. However, when negotiations with you about your empty property do not succeed, we have a range of powers available to make sure the property is reused.

What powers do we have?

Compulsory purchase orders (CPOs)

Serving compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) on empty properties may be justified where there appears to be no other chance of a suitable property being used as a home. Before a CPO is confirmed,we will have to show that we have taken steps to encourage you to bring the property into acceptable use. We will also need to show that our reasons for making a CPO justify interfering with your human rights or those of anyone else with an interest in the property.

Housing Act 1985, section 17

This Act gives us the power to take over land, houses or other properties to increase the number of houses available or improve the quality of the housing stock. The main uses of this power are to get land for housing. This includes bringing empty properties back into use as homes, and improving substandard ones. Where we get control of a property through this power, we will usually sell it to:

  • a private-sector developer
  • an owner-occupier or
  • a registered social landlord
Town and Country Planning Act 1990, section 226

The powers in section 226 are intended to help local authorities which have planning powers to take control of the land they need to put in place their community strategies and local development documents. These planning powers are wide enough to allow us to take over land for redevelopment.

Enforced sales procedures

Law of Property Act 1925 (link) Where we have issued and enforced a charge against a property you own, we have all the legal rights of a mortgage lender under the Law&Property Act 1925. We may have issued the charge against the property because you did not:

  • obey the terms of a statutory notice we issued or
  • pay Council Tax or other debts you owed to the local authority.
Dangerous or dilapidated Buildings or structures

Building Act 1984, sections 77&78 We can order you to make property safe or allow us to take emergency action to make it safe.

Statutory nuisance (statutory nuisance or premises which can affect health)

Environmental Protection Act, 1990, Section 80 (link) Building Act 1984, Section 76 (link) We can order you to make your property safe or allow us to take emergency action to make the building safe.

Unsecured properties

These are empty properties that are not secure so they can be broken into, vandalised, set on fire and so on. Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, Section 29

We can order you to

  • make your property secure or allow us to board it up in an emergency or
  • allow us to fence off the property.