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Abatement Orders

The council's environmental health department can order owners to put right any disrepair that is causing a health hazard or 'nuisance', by serving an abatement order, also known as an abatement notice.

What can the environmental health department do?

The council's environmental health department has to inspect and take action to sort out disrepair that is causing a 'nuisance'. 'Nuisance' has a specific legal meaning here that's different from its everyday meaning. Disrepair that is causing a nuisance may:

  • affect your health
  • cause a problem for the public
  • disturb people in any neighbouring property
  • make your home unfit for you to live in.

Examples of disrepair that could cause a nuisance are:

  • dampness
  • mould growth
  • rats, cockroaches and other infestations
  • blocked drains or problems with rubbish or sewage
  • lack of fire precautions
  • faulty or dangerous gas or electrical appliances
  • defective electrical wiring.

What is an abatement notice?

An abatement notice orders the recipient to put right the problem that is causing a nuisance and sets a time limit by which any works must be completed. The council will send the notice to the person responsible for the nuisance. So for example, if problems are caused by rubbish piling up in the garden of a rented flat, the notice would be sent to the tenants, but if problems are caused by defective wiring, the notice would be sent to the owner of the property.

What should I do if I'm sent an abatement notice?

The environmental health department may send you an informal notice before giving you an abatement notice, warning that further action will be taken if you don't get the repairs done within a certain time frame.

You can appeal against an abatement notice if you don't think it's fair. You must lodge their appeal at the sheriff court within 21 days of receiving the notice.

What if I don't comply with the notice?

If your landlord you don't do the work specified in the abatement notice, the environmental health department can either take steps to repair the problem itself then charge you for the work, or take you to court. The court can then order the work to be done, and can fine you up to £5,000.

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