What Happens When A Building Is Condemned?

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One of the most fundamental human rights is the right to shelter that is habitable, safe and fit for purpose. When it is none of these, problems can arise which may result in the need for dilapidations consultancy.

There are some legal grey areas, but for the most part, the moment when a building becomes dilapidated or condemned is when it becomes too dangerous to live in.

Exactly how this looks can vary, and whilst there are some obvious signs such as a building being boarded up in its entirety, signs of breaking in, mould, vermin infestations and cracks in the building or its facades, in other cases a perfectly normal looking building on the outside could hide hidden dangers.

Regardless, once a building reaches this state and its condition is reported to the local council this is when they start to take action.

They will inspect the home for one of the 29 housing hazards measured as part of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

Typically all but the highest level of hazards are served with no more than an improvement notice, but if the danger is high enough, they may take emergency action.

This can take several forms, but the most common are prohibition orders, emergency action and demolition orders.

Prohibition orders are legal orders that ban the use of either part or the entirety of a property until the hazards identified in the HHSRS have been carried out, and it is illegal to break this order and continue to live in the property. This is most commonly known as condemning a property.

In some cases, the council will take action themselves to stop hazards that pose an immediate risk to people living in the vicinity, usually taking the form of urgent repairs, which are then charged from the owner of the property.

Finally, in extreme cases, there are demolition orders, where the building itself is destroyed and the site cleared.

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