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Defective and Dangerous Buildings (Recovery of Expenses) (Scotland) Bill was lodged today.

31st October 2013

Highlands and Islands (Labour) MSP David Stewart lodged his Defective and Dangerous Buildings (Recovery of Expenses) (Scotland) Bill today. This is the first opposition Member Bill this session to reach this stage and aims to encourage Local Authorities to deal with the increasingly large amount of defective buildings before they become dangerous and unsightly.

The Bill will enable Local Authorities to re-coup their cost of repairing defective and dangerous Buildings to make them safe. This will in turn provide them with an extra revenue stream and hopefully help stimulate the building industry through this work. Vulnerable and low income home owners will be able, through the proposals outlined in this Bill, to carry out much needed repairs on their properties, as the charges involved can be repaid to the Local Authority over a 30 year period.

Crumbling, dangerous and unsightly buildings are a real problem across Scotland, with up to 83% of dwellings in need of some kind of repair. These are not just unsafe to the public, they are an eyesore; they can have a detrimental effect on the surrounding area by driving down house prices on a street or making town centres seem unwelcoming.

Speaking today in the Scottish Parliament, David Stewart said Such buildings need to be dealt with in a fair and practical manner

Too many have been allowed to drift into disrepair and need urgent remedy. The Old Youth Hostel on Castle Street in Inverness is one example; it is not just an eyesore but creates an unwelcoming environment to the surrounding area. There are countless other examples not only across the Highlands and Islands, but the whole of Scotland. We have all seen them.

It is, of course, the owners responsibility to repair buildings which may be abandoned or disused. My Bill aims to enable councils to carry out desperately needed repairs while, in turn, being empowered to pass the cost on to the owners.

This measure will result in more building work being carried out, providing a welcome boost to the Construction industry
Ive been very pleased with the positive comments Ive received from people in communities who are sick and tired of such buildings posing a problem locally.

Local Authority Building Standards Scotland (LABSS) welcome the Bill by saying At present Local Authorities find it difficult to recover the cost of work undertaken. Without the ability to apply a charging order on a property the Local Authority can only pursue the building owner. As such there are occasions when the Local Authority and therefore, the tax payer are left out of pocket.

Consultation summary here: http://www.davidstewartmsp.org.uk/consultation/

Further information on Bill: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/46078.aspx

 

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