A new law, which was introduced by the Scottish Government to allow local councils to recover debts they have incurred when taking on enforcement work on dangerous or defective buildings, has been passed by the Scottish Parliament.
Local authorities have a statutory obligation to deal with dangerous buildings, and can take action on defective buildings as they see fit, explains the Scottish Government. They can recover any expenses from the building’s owner.
The new Buildings (Recovery of Expenses) (Scotland) Bill will make it easier for local authorities to recover debts by legislating for charging orders, setting out repayable amounts and splitting it into annual instalments.
Local authorities will be able to register a charging order in the appropriate land register, which means new and former owners will be liable if the property changes ownership.
“When building owners fail to rectify any dangerous or defective problems to their properties, local authorities can carry out the work and then try to recover costs from the building owners,” explained Minister for Local Government and Planning Derek Mackay. “Unfortunately this debt recovery process can be difficult, with local authorities struggling to recover expenses, and they can be left out of pocket.”
“This Bill will provide local authorities with additional powers for debt recovery that provides them with flexibility and gives them more certainty to recover these expenses,” he added. “We want to make sure building owners are held accountable for enforcement work in future.”
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