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Local authority duties and powers to tackle disrepair

This section looks at the duties and powers that local authorities have to ensure that the housing in their area is of a certain standard. It covers the tolerable standard and ways of enforcing it, and looks at housing action areas, repair notices, closing and demolition notices, defective and dangerous building notices, powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, including housing renewal areas and work and demolition notices.

Overview of local authorities' duties and powers

This page provides an overview of the legislation governing local authorities' duties and powers to tackle disrepair. It is up to individual authorities to decide which powers, or combination of powers to use in given situations to enforce repair. 

Closing and demolition orders

Closing and demolition orders can be used where a house is below tolerable standard and ought to be demolished. Closing orders are used where the property forms part of a building that contains other properties that are above the tolerable standard; otherwise demolition orders are used. 

Defective and dangerous building notices

Defective and dangerous and building notices were introduced by the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 (the 2003 Act). 

Housing renewal areas

A local authority can declare a housing renewal area (HRA) if it concludes that a significant number of houses in the area are substandard. It must then draw up an HRA action plan to improve the area, and can send out notices to home owners, ordering them to bring their properties up to a reasonable standard or, in some cases, demolish them. HRAs were introduced by the Housing (Scotland) 2006 Act to replace the previous system of housing action areas. 

Work and demolition notices

Work notices can be issued by local authorities to implement a housing renewal area (HRA) action plan, or in order to bring individual substandard houses up to a reasonable state of repair. Demolition notices can be issued where a house in an HRA is in a state of serious disrepair and ought to be demolished. 

Maintenance orders

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 introduced a power for local authorities to serve maintenance orders, which require homeowners to produce and carry out maintenance plans to bring a house into, or keep it in, a reasonable state of repair. This section gives information on maintenance orders and plans, describes when and how they can be served, and looks at the process for appealing a maintenance notice. 

Repayment charges

In some situations, when a local authority has carried out repair, demolition or maintenance work on behalf of a home owner and needs to recover the costs of that work, it can make a repayment charge. Repayment charges were introduced by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. 

This content applies to Scotland

Last updated: 10 February 2020