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Why should I do anything with my empty property?

What powers do local authorities have?

Great Yarmouth Borough Council's priority is to work with owners to bring properties back into use, by offering information and support where we can. Enforcement action is only used as a last resort.

The Operational Property Enforcement Task Group is Great Yarmouth Borough Council's joint enforcement group for empty properties. Properties identified as a problem are raised at the group for enforcement action.

The table below details some of the more common legislation used when enforcing against owners.

Table of powers
Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs)

CPOs allow Local Authorities (LAs) to take ownership of a property or land.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council only use CPOs when other avenues have been exhausted and there appears to be no way forward with a property.

Several CPOs have been successfully completed throughout the town to date.

Housing Act 1985, Section 17

This gives LAs 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.

This power is usually reserved for land acquisitions but can apply to empty homes when improving substandard ones.

Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Section 226

This gives LAs the power they need to help achieve their community strategies allowing them to acquire land for redevelopment.

Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Section 215

Where the property is detrimental to the street scene, these powers are used to force an owner to tidy a property. 

Non-compliance of this notice can result in an initial fine of £1,000, prosecution and costs being applied to the property.

Building Act 1984, Sections 76, 77, 78 and 79

Where the property is considered dangerous or dilapidated, these powers are used to order the owner to make the property safe or allow emergency action to make it safe.

Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 80

Where properties are considered a statutory nuisance or affecting health, this legislation gives LAs the power to order the owner to make the property safe or allow emergency action to make it safe.

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, Section 29

This legislation is used to address empty properties which are not secure and are being broken into, vandalised or used for illegal activities.

The owner can be ordered to make the property secure or, in an emergency, be boarded or fenced off.

Law of Property Act 1925, Section 103

Where a charge has been applied to a property through works completed in default of the above notices, this legislation gives LAs all the legal rights of a mortgage lender and enables the enforced sale of a property.

Last modified on 08 April 2024

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