Scope of Section 79 Building Act 1984 notice provision?

Hello,

Is anybody aware of and can provide or signpost me to any guidance/commentary or reports of court decisions, etc., where the definitions and breadth of scope of S79 BA 1984 provision have been considered/clarified? I'm wondering in particular about the suitability of the provision for tackling issues (such as extensive overgrowth) on a site other than (or in addition to) those relating to the building itself?

S79 is sometimes advocated as an alternative to S215 T&CPA 1990, and also considered to be a more robust method for charge if enforced sale being contemplated, particularly if property unregistered (as in case in mind). So it might suit our purposes.

But, if condition of building not to be targeted, then possibly we should change tack to consider S4 PDPA 1949 instead, as that also gives priority charge. No evidence of pests, but substantial potential harbourage, so could chance it?

Thanks.

David

Forums: 
Other enforcement

I have never used a s79 for land except where there are products of demolition. Could you not use a s79 for the building to secure a charge and other legislation for the land if necessary?

1 below appears to relate to buildings/structures and 2 to land but I would be interested in other people's interpretations.

Ruinous and dilapidated buildings and neglected sites.

(1)If it appears to a local authority that a building or structure is by reason of its ruinous or dilapidated condition seriously detrimental to the amenities of the neighbourhood, the local authority may by notice require the owner thereof—

(a)to execute such works of repair or restoration, or

(b)if he so elects, to take such steps for demolishing the building or structure, or any part thereof, and removing any rubbish or other material resulting from or exposed by the demolition,

as may be necessary in the interests of amenity.

(2)If it appears to a local authority that—

(a)rubbish or other material resulting from, or exposed by, the demolition or collapse of a building or structure is lying on the site or on any adjoining land, and

(b)by reason thereof the site or land is in such a condition as to be seriously detrimental to the amenities of the neighbourhood,

 

 

Elizabeth Green

Dear All

I would suggest that section 79 Building Act 1984 is not suitable for dealing with overgrown gardens, or the usual accumulation of rubbish, furniture, white goods or cars in the garden.

The specific wording of the section relates to “buildings or structure”, it does not specifically include land other than S79 (2) which states rubbish or other material resulting from, or exposed by, the demolition or collapse of a building or structure is lying on the site or on any adjoining land.

Building is further defined in section 121 Building Act 1984 but does not add much to the interpretation

There are a limited number of cases that have reached the higher courts, I have identified a few that may be of assistance.

Ultimately, it will come down to the professional judgement of the officer as to what amounts to a building or structure (will turn on the definition) by reason of its ruinous or dilapidated condition seriously detrimental to the amenities of the neighbourhood (officer judgement)

The word neighbourhood as supported by such cases as Berg vs Salford does not just include the adjacent properties. but those in the wider area, which can help officers when a street or part of an area feels run down

Berg v Salford City Council [2013] Aug 2013, relates to the use of section 215 which looks at detrimental to the amenities of the area – see my previous post Use of Section 215 Notice - Berg v Salford City Council [2013] Aug 2013 | Empty Homes Network (ehnetwork.org.uk)

Mcvittie v The Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of The Borough of Bolton - [1945] 1 All ER 379

The provisions were under the Public Health Act 1936, which was the previous incarnation of Section 79.

Whether “rubbish resulting from the demolition” included machinery on the premises – Public Health Act, 1936 (c 49), s 58.

“rubbish resulting from demolition” did not include machines.

 the section conferred no power to remove chattels unless they came within the description of “rubbish resulting from the demolition.”.

 Liverpool City Council v Derwent Holdings Ltd [2008] EWHC 679 (Admin), [2008] All ER (D) 204 (Mar)

The public house on a site owned by the respondent was demolished in February 2004. A large amount of building debris, mostly from the demolition was on the site. The authority issued a notice under s 79(2) of the Building Act 1984 requiring its removal on the grounds that the site was, as a result of that debris, in such a condition as to be seriously detrimental to the amenity of the neighbourhood

(1) The legal and evidential burden of establishing that a site was not seriously detrimental to the amenity of the neighbourhood was on the appellant against a s 79(2) notice. However, that was unlikely ever to be of any practical significance, save for the situation in which an appellant did not appear or did not adduce any evidence, in which case it would not be necessary for the authority to call evidence that the notice had been properly served. In all other cases where evidence was called, it was for the court to form its own judgment as to whether the statutory test had been fulfilled.
(2) 'Pleasantness' was a reasonable simile for amenity. By the use of that term, and by considering the view of a disinterested observer coming to or residing in the neighbourhood, the Crown Court had applied the correct legal test.

There are other cases, but the above are probably the most pertinent to the questions raised.

Hope that helps.

Regards

Andrew Lavender

Housing Training and Consultancy