As a result of the economic downturn many buildings are left empty in need of occupiers or redevelopment. Empty buildings can quickly deteriorate and become dilapidated with no prospective of rejuvenation in the coming months or years.

Local authorities have wide powers under the Building Act 1984 and the Town and County Planning Act 1990 to target such buildings on the grounds that they might be dangerous or else their state and condition has a severe detrimental impact upon the amenity of the local area. Local authorities can serve notices upon the owners and any occupiers of such buildings requiring them to carry out expensive and extensive repair works or even to demolish the building.

You have the right to appeal against such notices and must do so within a strict period of time of being served with the notice. It is important that you take legal advice once you have been served with an enforcement notice to ascertain whether you have any grounds to challenge the service of the notice.

In most instances the local authorities will contact you in writing before they decide to serve you formally with an enforcement notice. It is important that you respond to such correspondence in a positive manner and engage in a dialogue with the local authority; you may be able to agree how to address their concerns about the state of the building to avoid formal action being taken against you.

For further advice regarding this issue please contact Susan Lewis.

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