Glasgow City Council has issued a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for seven flats in Westmoreland Street , Govanhill, Glasgow. This is the first time landlords have been forced to sell because they have failed to keep their property in an acceptable condition. Moreover, this will be the first time a whole block with residents will be taken over under compulsory purchase in Glasgow. It has been reported that at least three of the flats are occupied with several children living in the houses. Under the plans any existing tenants will be offered to be rehoused once Govanhill Housing Association has assessed their needs.
Alison Evison, president of the Council of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) stated : “We are pleased to see that the law is being used to clear some of the worst housing practice and to improve the circumstances of some of the poorest communities”.
“Wherever a council believes that the local circumstances merit it, this power should be used to promote community wellbeing.”
The special powers used in Govanhill are not currently available in every area. Govanhill has been designated as an enhanced enforcement area (EEA) which gives officials tougher powers. A series of raids under the new EEA powers uncovered squalor including dangerous electrics, broken toilets, no hot water and infestations of rodents.
Richard Brown, executive director of regeneration, said “The condition of this building has been an on-going cause for concern with the council using its full range of statutory powers to first repair the building, then impose a maintenance plan on the owners.”
The Council and Govanhill Housing Association have funds from the Scottish Government to buy up properties to allow them to be refurbished and brought up to standard. Housing campaigners have welcomed the fact that there are powers to take properties away from rogue landlords stopping properties falling into further disrepair and ultimately being demolished. The loss of stock, when so many people are looking for a home, could further the housing crisis.
Enforcement action can be triggered when landlords for example do not comply with the local authority ,for example, not having gas and electrical safety certificates. Council can also use the EEA powers to compel landlords to undergo criminal checks.
The private landlords will all face losing their flats and then being able to apply for market value compensation, unless they agree to sell before the CPO is completed.
If you are in any doubts of your rights or obligations as a landlord in Scotland then please get in touch with me Alison Gourley on 0141 552 3422 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to help.