Hi Folks, Me again!
So I last posted to ask advice about an impending site inspection as part of written reps for a CPO that I had received an objection to. Well, I have been advised by the SoS that following the site inspectors report they have decided not to confirm the CPO. As you can imagine I am disappointed by this, especially due to the reasons given, and I was wondering what your thoughts are on this. Due to the sensitive nature of the report I can't post anything verbatim but I can paraphrase...
I became involved with the property following complaints of an overgrown rear garden and unstable rear lean to. The property is jointly owned by two estranged brothers. Other than the issues raised by the complainant the 3 bed mid-terrace property was in reasonable condition, on a main road with a front garden that was maintained to a minimum standard.
Upon writing to the owners one responded well and the other very reluctantlyand then not at all. The rear garden was tidied to some degree, following the threat of S215 TCPA notice, but it became clear that this was all that would be happening as the brothers could not agree on what to do with the house which had been their family home. One wanted to sell it and release the equity, the other didn't (for whatever reason - he cites wanting to keep the family home. I suspect it is more to spite his brother who is not in as strong a financial position as him.)
I cautioned against CPO action and managed to arrange an offer of private leasing by a local RSL.This was refused by one owner, not the other. We then valued the property and made an offer to purchase. This was again refused, by the same owner, and although accepted by the other could not proceed.
We proceeded to CPO and, as you can guess, one brother made an objection. The other contacted the SoS and said he supported the CPO. The case went to written reps and the property was inspected. Both brothers submitted reps - one against CPO, one in favour! Needless to say there is lot more detail to it than this, including various promises from the objector that did not materialise but seem to have influenced the inspectors decision...
We were advised this week that the CPO was not to be confirmed and the primary reasons were: 1 - the property is not in serious disrepair and therefore the case is not in the public interest, 2- the issue of the dispute is not unique and a CPO would represent a "serious intervention" in what is essentially a "private dispute."
I would like to seek your opinion on a couple of things:
1. When a CPO is taken under the HA does it matter if the property isn't in a serious state of disrepair? I thought that was the benefit of this power over the TCPA one?
2. Does anyone know if I can appeal the decision and whether the above point would be good grounds to do so?
3. Are you surpised by this outcome? Have I just been unlucky? (If a property is unlikely to ever come back into use and you had tried all other options would a CPO not be an option to consider?)
4. Any suggestions as to where I go from here?
In response to this we are now reconsidering how we select our properties for CPO action. Up to now we have taken into account their priority score (derived from length of time empty, number of complaints, impact on the amenity etc etc), ownership situation (probate etc), co-operation of owners, charges against the property such as care home fees etc and whether CTAX is being paid. This property was a high priority (in the top 15) score wise, with ctax debt and a non-cooperative owner and no prospect of resolution so a fair candidate, or so we thought! Would anyone be willing to share their decision making process for CPO action so that we can reconsider our tactics?
Hopefully you have made it to bottom of this post and thank you in advance to anyone that takes the time to respond - I really appreciate it!
Cheshire West and Chester Council.