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MSP David Stewart's Bill To Recoup Costs From Defective and Dangerous Buildings

3rd April 2014

Highlands and Islands (Labour) MSP David Stewart’s Member’s Bill, Defective and Dangerous Buildings (Recovery of Expenses) (Scotland) Bill, is set to pass Stage 1 at 5pm today. This is the first Opposition Member’s Bill this session to reach this stage and the Scottish Government has indicated that it will give its support. This Bill aims to provide Local Authorities with much needed extra powers to re-coup their costs when dealing with defective and dangerous buildings.

The Bill will reintroduce charging orders, a tried and tested cost recovery method, which will enable Local Authorities to recover their costs in a more efficient and cost effective manner. During the evidence session in the Local Government and Regeneration Committee it was clear that this measure had widespread support from Local Authorities and wider building sector. The committee recommend that parliament pass the Bill in its report which recognised that the current mechanism for cost recovery is not working and that Local Authorities are in desperate need for this new power.

Crumbling, dangerous and unsightly buildings are a real problem across Scotland, with up to 81% 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 “I am delighted that my Bill is set to pass Stage 1 today, and this is the culmination of 4 years hard work.”

“Too many buildings have been allowed to drift into disrepair and need urgent remedy. 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 whilst shifting the financial burden back to the owners themselves.”

Scottish Building Federation Managing Director, Vaughan Hart said “SBF supports this legislation as a welcome move to support the repair of unsafe buildings in Scotland.”

“Buildings that are not properly maintained can pose a major risk to the public, particularly in built-up areas. Local authorities have an important responsibility to protect the public by repairing buildings that are dangerous. This legislation would enable them to do that with greater confidence as they can recover the associated costs from the building owner.”

“With the number of new homes being built in Scotland currently at a record low, an ageing building stock will inevitably lead to an increase in the number of buildings requiring urgent repair. This legislation will reduce the number of instances where such repairs are delayed, scaled back or even cancelled due to concerns over cost recovery. Indirectly, it should also stimulate the repair and maintenance sector of the construction industry that carries out these repairs.”

See details of the bill at -
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/74508.aspx

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