nplaw Empty Homes Compulsory Purchases
Empty Homes Improving local communities

Empty Homes

nplaw has one of the largest compulsory purchase order (CPO) legal practices in the UK. Our CPO consultancy service is currently working on more than 80 CPO projects for local authorities throughout England and Wales. The success rate of nplaw and our predecessor, Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s legal team, in obtaining confirmed CPOs is over 95%.

Our CPO consultancy service undertakes a wide variety of CPO projects. Properties compulsorily purchased include every combination of land and buildings: occupied and unoccupied, residential and commercial, leasehold and freehold, listed and unlisted. Projects involve single or multiple plots of land. Properties are purchased to facilitate schemes as diverse as housing redevelopment, road improvement, town centre redevelopment and regeneration, the provision of schools, bus stations, energy parks, cemeteries and country parks and the restoration of listed buildings.

Empty Homes CPOs

It is recognised that empty properties can have a serious impact on local communities. If the number of empty properties within an area is allowed to increase, so can the incidence of vandalism, which acts as a further disincentive to occupation. This in turn can lead to falls in house prices and the collapse of local businesses as households move out. This spiral of decline can continue as people don’t want to move into an area where empty properties and derelict shops add to a sense of neglect.

Where agreement cannot be reached with the owner of an empty property, a local authority may seek to acquire the property compulsorily. This is only possible where the authority has specific statutory powers to acquire land compulsorily for the proposed purpose, and should only be done where the authority can demonstrate that the acquisition would be in the public interest.

The benefits of local authorities dealing robustly with empty properties have been identified as social, regenerative, financial and strategic, and can:

  • assist in meeting housing need;
  • improve housing conditions;
  • regenerate blighted areas;
  • increase the Council Tax collection rate
  • assist in managing urban areas; and
  • produce better relations between local authorities and the private sector.

The Housing White Paper published in early 2017 identified that compulsory purchase powers should be more widely used by local authorities to improve local communities and bring homes back into use.

Our services

Our CPO consultancy service will:

  • advise on applicable powers of compulsory purchase;
  • prepare cabinet or committee reports;
  • prepare indemnity agreements when required;
  • advise on procedure and prepare all necessary notices and other documents;
  • negotiate with objectors;
  • undertake advocacy at public inquiries;
  • deal with confirmation of the CPO;
  • prepare notices to treat and general vesting documents;
  • register change of ownership at the Land Registry;
  • advise on compensation due to the former owners;
  • make Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) references.

Fees

The fixed fee for dealing with a non-contested single plot empty homes compulsory purchase order is £1,800 + vat + disbursements. The fee covers:

  • Advice on the cabinet or committee report seeking authority to make the CPO
  • Preparation of the order, statutory notices, statement of reasons
  • Submission of the order to the Secretary of State for confirmation
  • If the order is confirmed, the post confirmation procedures
  • Vesting of the title in the local authority
  • Registering title at HM Land Registry

If there are objections, complications in dealing with the CPO or it needs to be dealt with by a public inquiry, we charge on an hourly basis at the rate of £109 per hour + vat + disbursements in addition to the fixed fee and we can give you a costs estimate on a case by case basis, as the time and complexity of a matter will vary with each case. If, for some reason, the matter is stopped at an earlier stage than the registration of title we will charge you the full fixed fee.

Training

Our CPO consultancy service also provides training on request.

For more information, please contact
Jane Linley at jane.linley@norfolk.gov.uk or on 01603 223811

 

See our Compulsory Purchase orders page for larger scale CPO projects.