a reply to: theNLBS
Relatively recently, my local borough council here in the UK, deployed a similar set of measures against a homeowner who had left a property vacant
for six years. During that time, rot had set in, creating a gap through which rainwater entered the property, and bored over time, a hole which went
from the roof, to the ground floor of the two floor house involved.
The damp which accompanied the water ingress, caused nearby properties to suffer damp related damage, and the place was said to stink. When agents of
the courts entered the property, they found a huge pile of garbage bags in the bath, holes in the floor and walls, and that a great deal of wiring and
piping had been stolen from the place. Without wishing to beat about the bush, the place was in an absolutely crap state and had begun to pose a
health and safety risk to other homeowners on the block. The garbage attracted vermin, the smell ruined their time at home, and the damp was costing
neighbours money, and despite this, the owner of the property failed to address those concerns. Now, it has to be said that the owner was in a pretty
poor state, financially speaking. I know what that is like, and it is no picnic. Unfortunately, the measures I outlined above were taken, by way of
our council having the work done, before slapping the owner with the bill, a bill he could not pay, effectively bankrupting him.
Having at least been made safe by the Borough Council, the house was sold at auction, and raised £148,000 or thereabouts.
Now, I find this very difficult myself. On the one hand, the properties poor state meant that other properties on the block were suffering damage,
and that the damage was never going to cease, or be fixed. On the other hand, the owner was already badly off, in hock to the council, and so having
the house taken away from them must have been a blow, not to mention the enormous bill and subsequent bankruptcy. I do not like the fact that it has
taken bankrupting a man to make something good happen with this property, because the idea of placing anyone who is already in dire straights, in even
less of an advantageous position...frankly makes me somewhat sick of it all.
That being said, at least this was a) the first use of this law, and b) applied having exhausted all other possibilities. The owner had flatly
refused to do anything about the poor state of their property, and although the reason may have been justified, six years is an awful long time to be
a neighbour to a property of the sort he was presiding over. I do not think the council had too much choice available to them by the time this house
got dealt with. Its not as if the fellow was off getting a heart operation, or nipping out to the shops for a pack of 20 JPS Black and a copy of The
edit on 28-12-2015 by TrueBrit because: Added local news story link