HC Deb 10 March 1971 vol 813 cc416-8
62. Mr. Thomas Cox

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the powers which now exist for inner London boroughs to take action against derelict properties.

Mr. Channon

The Inner London boroughs have powers under the Public Health Act, 1936, the Housing Act, 1957, and the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act, 1939, to take action against derelict properties. The powers will be listed in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Cox

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply. Does it not appear that certain local authorities are unaware of these powers, because in many parts of London one can see many derelict properties, which create a great deal of inconvenience to local residents and to the areas in which these properties are situated? I would be grateful if the Minister would ensure that local authorities are fully aware of their powers to take action in regard to such properties.

Mr. Channon

I have no information that local authorities in general are not aware of these powers, but if the hon. Gentleman would like to write to me, I will certainly examine the matter.

Following is the information:


Section 9 Housing Act, 1957: Where a house is unfit for habitation but can be made fit at reasonable expense the local authority can serve notice requiring owner to carry out specified works to make it fit.

Section 10 Housing Act, 1957: If owner fails to comply with section 9 notice, local authorities can carry out works themselves and recover their expenses.

Section 16 Housing Act, 1957: Where unfit house cannot be made fit at reasonable expense local authority can make demolition or closing order after owner has been given an opportunity to submit proposals for making it fit.

Sections 42 and 43 Housing Act, 1957: Local authority can deal with area of houses which are unfit or buildings which by reason of bad arrangement are dangerous or injurious to health of inhabitants of area by declaring clearance area. This is followed by clearance order under which owners must demolish buildings but retain land; or local authority can buy the property by agreement or compulsorily and themselves carry out demolition.

Section 72 Housing Act, 1957: Local authority can secure demolition of "obstructive" building, that is one which is dangerous or injurious to health by reason of its contact with or proximity to other buildings.

Section 81 Public Health Act, 1936: A local authority can make byelaws for preventing the occurrence of nuisance from filth or rubbish.

Sections 92–95 Public Health Act, 1936: Enable local authority to deal with "statutory nuisances" which includes premises which are in such a state as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance.


Section 61: Enables the council to take emergency measures to deal with dangerous structures.

Section 62: Enables the council to shore up a dangerous structure and fence it to protect passers by, and requires the council to serve notice on the owner or occupier U' demolish, repair or otherwise secure it.

Section 64: If the owner or occupier fails to comply promptly with the notice, the council may apply to the Court for an order requiring the owner to carry out the work in a time fixed by the order. If the requirements of the order are not complied with the council may take the necessary action and remove any resulting rubbish.

Section 65: Enables the council to apply for a Court order for the removal of immediate danger, even though the owner is in dispute with the council and his case is the subject of arbitration.

Section 69: Enables the council to apply for a Court order requiring the owner of a dilapidated or ruinous structure is "neglected structure") to demolish, repair or re-build the structure or to fence it in to the satisfaction of the council within a lime to be fixed in the order. If the order is not obeyed the council may execute the necessary work and remove any rubbish.