Measures to assist local authorities in recouping the costs they incur in making defective or dangerous buildings safe have today been welcomed by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee.
The measures are the main focus of a Members’ Bill introduced by David Stewart MSP. The Defective and Dangerous Buildings (Recovery of Expenses) (Scotland) Bill would see costs and expenses incurred by local authorities in the repair of dangerous or defective buildings being recovered by way of a charging order.
In supporting the general principles of the Bill, the Committee recommended that local authorities be given the flexibility to recover expenses over a timescale dependent on the amount incurred as well as the debtors ability to pay.
Committee Convener, Kevin Stewart MSP said:
“The existing Building Acts aim to protect people from harm which may be caused by dangerous and defective buildings. The Bill before us puts in place a clear process where local authorities can, rightly, secure the costs of making good the repairs to these buildings.
“However, in order for the Bill to be truly effective and a useful, workable tool for local authorities, it must have flexibility to allow timescales to be adapted to suit each specific case.”
The Committee also considered the position of housing associations when repairs need to be made both with and without the consent of all owners. The Committee has urged all local authorities to work closely with housing associations to assist them in making necessary repairs.
Introduced in October 2013, the Defective and Dangerous Buildings (Recovery of Expenses) (Scotland) Bill aims to allow local authorities to make charging orders (which secures the debt to the property) for recovery of expenses incurred where they have carried out work on defective or dangerous buildings.
A charging order is a form of statutory charge which attaches to land and property, for example, in relation to the repayment of a loan, recovery of expenses incurred or grants made.