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Housing demolition & homeowners' rights

 

The Glasgow Housing Association Ltd (GHA) are in the process of approving the demolition of various homes across Glasgow and are writing to owner occupiers to negotiate a purchase price.   What are your basic rights?

It should be noted that a homeowner is entitled to (a) the full market value of their property (b) a home loss payment (10% of market value subject to min. £1,500 and max. £15,000; essentially designed to cover the upset and distress in losing your home) and (c) a disturbance payment (to cover cost of removing and consequent losses see further s.35, Land Compensation (Scotland) Act 1973); this is all under the 1973 Act as amended by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

The GHA have told residents that ‘we are not obliged by statute to provide you with alternative accommodation’.   That is not quite correct in practice as the law is not so simple here.

What is clear is that if a CPO (compulsory purchase order) is sought, the GHA does not have any CPO powers.   It would have to ask Glasgow City Council (GCC) to use its powers.   GCC would need to be satisfied there was a social or economic benefit.  The point is this is not a rubber stamping exercise.

Section 36 of the 1973 Act (reproduced below) provides that where someone loses residential accommodation in consequence of a CPO or the making of a housing order or resolution etc., then it shall be the duty of the 'relevant authority' to secure that the homeowner is provided with such other accommodation.

What can be said therefore is that someone will have a statutory obligation to provide a displaced homeowner with alternative accommodation (typically a Scottish secure tenancy) – whether that is the GHA or GCC will depend upon arguments around the application and interpretation of s.36(1) of the 1973 Act.  In other words, what is the reason resulting in displacement: as on the face of it could either be (a) the Council's CPO or (b) the fact the GHA resolved to demolish the building and ask GCC to apply for a CPO.

Tactically, Govan Law Centre's advice to Glasgow residents is as follows.  Residents should stay put until they get written confirmation and acceptance of  -

If homeowners don’t get this, the GHA’s planned demolition cannot proceed without a CPO.   The GHA would then need to ask GCC to use its CPO powers; and then GCC could be asked to provide alternative accommodation (which it does not have).  The Council would then then likely want to ensure that the GHA provided a tenancy – otherwise they might potentially be obliged to do so (or might argue that the GHA is obliged to do so).

Before making any decisions on this subject homeowners should consult a solicitor experienced in this area of law.   The Law Society of Scotland  may be able to provide details of firms who can undertake this field of work.

Please note that Govan Law Centre can only act for clients within Glasgow; and in practice due to our limited resources that often means clients within the South West of Glasgow only.

 

Mike Dailly

Principal Solicitor

Govan Law Centre

Glasgow



15 August 2006

 
Land Compensation (Scotland) Act 1973 as amended


s   36 Duty to rehouse residential occupiers.



(1) Where a person is displaced from residential accommodation on any land in consequence of--

(a) the acquisition of the land by an authority possessing compulsory purchase powers;

(b) the making, passing or acceptance of a housing order, resolution or undertaking in respect of a house or building on the land;

(c) where the land has been previously acquired by an authority possessing compulsory purchase powers or appropriated by a local authority and is for the time being held by the authority for the purposes for which it was acquired or appropriated, the carrying out of any improvement to a house or building on the land or of redevelopment on the land,

(d) a requirement to remove the building containing the residential accommodation in pursuance of [section 29 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 (asp 8)] [FN1] (dangerous buildings), or any other enactment which requires the demolition of the building on account of its condition,

and suitable alternative residential accommodation on reasonable terms is not otherwise available to that person, then, subject to the provisions of this section, it shall be the duty of the relevant authority to secure that he will be provided with such other accommodation.

(2) Subsection (1) above shall not by virtue of paragraph (a) thereof apply to a person if the acquisition is in pursuance of the service by him of a blight notice within the meaning of section 100 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

(3) Subsection (1) above shall not apply to any person who is a trespasser on the land or who has been permitted to reside in any house or building on the land pending its demolition or improvement .

(4) Subsection (1) above shall not apply to any person to whom money has been advanced--

(a) under section 38 below;

(b) under the Small Dwellings Acquisition (Scotland) Acts 1899 to 1923 or section 49 of the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1968or section 214 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987; or

(c) by a development corporation otherwise than under section 38 below,

for the purpose of enabling him to obtain accommodation in substitution for that from which he is displaced as mentioned in that subsection.

(5) Subsection (1)(a) above shall not apply to any acquisition of land in relation to which the Secretary of State has before 23rd May 1973 decided under paragraph 1 of Schedule 8 to the Housing (Scotland) Act 1966 that a housing scheme is not necessary.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (1) above a person shall not be treated as displaced in consequence of any such acquisition improvement or redevelopment as is mentioned in paragraph (a) or (c) of that subsection unless he was residing in the accommodation in question--

(a) in the case of land acquired under a compulsory purchase order, at the time when notice was first published of the making of the order prior to its submission for confirmation or, where the order did not require confirmation, of the preparation of the order in draft;

(b) in the case of land acquired under an Act specifying the land as subject to compulsory acquisition, at the time when the provisions of the Bill for the Act specifying the land were first published;

(c) in the case of land acquired by agreement, at the time when the agreement was made;

and a person shall not be treated as displaced in consequence of any such order, resolution undertaking or requirement as is mentioned in paragraph (b) or (d) of that subsection unless he was residing in the accommodation in question at the time when the order was made, the resolution was passed the undertaking was accepted or he was required to remove.

(7) Subject to subsection (8) below, "the relevant authority" for the purposes of this section is the local authority having functions in relation to the district where the land is situated under Part I of the Housing (Scotland) Act1987.

(8) Where the land is in an area designated as the site of a new town--

(a) paragraph (c) of subsection (1) above shall apply if the land on which the redevelopment is carried out has been previously acquired by the development corporation and is for the time being held by that corporation;

(b) the development corporation shall, in a case falling within paragraph (a) or (c) of that subsection, be the relevant authority for the purposes of this section.

(9) In this section "a housing order, resolution or undertaking" "improvement" and "redevelopment" have the same meaning as in section 27 above.