Aspects concerning housing that fails to meet the current statutory standard are governed by legislation and the primary piece of legislation we are able to use in this respect is the Housing Act 2004.
One of the principal purposes of this Act is to ensure that buildings used for housing are only used as such if they reach acceptable standards. These standards are assessed using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
If a house is found to have Category 1 hazards then we have a prescribed duty under the legislation to take action. Once we are satisfied that a Category 1 Hazard (s) is/are present we are required to take one of seven courses of action:
- Serve an improvement notice
- Make a prohibition order
- Serve a hazard awareness notice
- Take emergency remedial action
- Make an emergency prohibition order under
- Make a demolition order under the Housing Act 1985
- Declare the area in which the premises concerned are situated to be a clearance area under the Housing Act 1985
In deciding which one of the above actions we will take we must follow a set procedure of strict rules to determine which option would be the most satisfactory course of action.
Housing: Category 1 and 2 Hazards
The meaning of Category 1 and 2 Hazards is set out in section 2 of the Housing Act 2004.
The method of assessing Category 1 or 2 hazards is the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System as conferred by The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005. This approach means we assess the property against 29 prescribed hazards and make an assessment of the level of risk associated with the hazards found. If the risk is serious enough, this would be classed as a Category 1 Hazard and we have a duty to take action. If the risk is not so high, this is classed as a Category 2 Hazard and we have a power to take action.
Housing Health and Safety Rating System Fact Sheet
Visit www.communities.gov.uk for further information.
Demolition in respect of clearance of large numbers of properties and other such group approaches are not part of current housing renewal policy within Hastings Borough Council. Should this position change then we will be pleased to provide the information on this web site.
The main area where demolition may be undertaken as part of our current housing renewal policies is when taking steps to deal with housing that fails to meet the current statutory standard.
Demolition of Housing failing the statutory standard
It is important to note that this action is very rarely undertaken and in recent years has only been used once. The following information is a basic outline of our approach in this area. If we have determined that demolition is the most satisfactory course of action we must make a Demolition Order.
The Order is to be served on any owner of the premises to be demolished and any mortgagee whom we are reasonably able to identify.
In deciding whether to make a demolition order, we will:
- take into account the availability of local accommodation for rehousing the occupants
- take into account the demand for, and sustainability of, the accommodation if the hazard is remedied
- consider the prospective use of the cleared site
- consider the local environment, the suitability of the area for continued residential occupation and the impact
Effect of a Demolition Order
Unless there is an appeal against the Demolition Order it becomes operative 21 days after it has been served. However the Order itself will specify when the house is to be vacated if it is occupied but this will not be less than 28 days after the Order becomes operative.
The Order will also identify when demolition will take place and this must be within 6 weeks of vacating the property although we are allowed to specify a longer period.
Any owner-occupier or tenant required to vacate the premises by Order will be entitled to rehousing and to compensation.
If an owner does not proceed to demolish the property we can do it ourselves and recover our costs from the owner in doing so.
In line with our adopted Housing Renewal Enforcement Policy we will provide information as to our reasons for the decision, in this case demolition, why we consider this approach is the most satisfactory course of action to take and how we will proceed to achieve this so that you are able to make full and sensible representation to us. We will then consider any representations correctly made as part of our final decisions on the matter.
Appealing Against a Demolition Order
A Demolition Order notice can be appealed, and an appeal must be lodged within 21 days of service of the Order.
Pending the appeal we are not able to carry out any further action relating to the Order.
The appeal goes to the Residential Property Tribunal, which has the power to confirm the Order, quash the Order or vary the Order.
More detailed information regarding demolition can be found within the Housing Act 2004 - which may be available at your local library or can be purchased.