Recovery Method: Enforced Sales Procedure: Section 103 Law and Property Act 1925
Section 78 Building Act 1984 – Dangerous Structure (Emergency Measures)
Section 79 Building Act 1984 – (Ruinous and Dilapidated)
Thanet District Council originally became involved in this case as a result of a dangerous structure. In 2004, the bay window to the first floor front elevation was becoming detached, representing a danger to local residents.
Consequently, they served a notice under Section 78 Building Act 1984, requiring the owner to undertake remedial works to remove the danger. The owner failed to comply with the terms of the notice.
Consequently, the Council completed the works in default. The cost of which can then be recovered from the owner.
Further concern was raised over the very poor condition of the living accommodation above the commercial element of the property, including the structural integrity of the floors, which were suffering from significant dry and wet rot.
Due to very serious health and safety concerns, a Closing Order was served under the previous Housing Act 1985 (as amended), requiring the owner to vacate the property. As a result of this, the owner was re-housed by the Council.
Negotiations with the owner over an extended period of time were unfruitful. The owner refused to sell the property and had no funds to contribute to the renovation of the property.
Then in 2008, the property suffered a major arson attack resulting in the property being substantially damaged. As a result the Council served a notice under Section 79 Building Act 1984, due to the ruinous and dilapidated condition of the building.
The owner had no insurance on the property as is often the case where the property has been vacant for a number of years.
The Council decided that the most appropriate way forward was to enforce the sale of the property to recover the debt owed to the Council, under the original dangerous structure noticeENFORCED SALES PROCEDURE
Where there is a debt to the Council, created as a result of the Council undertaking works in default, as in this case, the Council can use the Law and Property Act 1925 (Power of Sale), to recover the debt.
The Law of Property Act 1925 states that a Local Authority with a debt on a property can, under certain circumstances, registers the debt as a first charge with the District Land Registry. This would take precedence over a mortgage, if there were any.
Once registered, the Council can then ask for the debt to be paid in full. Where the Owner fails to pay the debt, the Council can enforce the sale of the property, just like a mortgagor in possession.
The new owner, a local developer then had the responsibility to comply with the terms of the notice served under Section 79 Building Act 1984.
After some negotiation the developer was granted planning permission for conversion of the property into three good quality apartments.
The conversion and renovation of the property was completed and all three apartments have since been sold to local people
If you think your property is suitable for selling in Auction and is a long term empty property, then please contact your local Empty Property Officer, to assess whether you would be eligible for this discount.