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What is a Blight Notice?

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Blight is the decrease in value of your home due to the potential of Compulsory Purchase. Potential buyers may be put off from purchasing a property if they think it might be in danger of demolition.

If the property isn’t suitable for finance, the limited number of potential buyers will decrease its value.

A blight notice, or statutory notice, is when resident freeholders or leaseholders receive a demand from the council to buy the property from them. But why would someone use this, and what is it for?

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What is a CPO?

A Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) is an order used to force homeowners to sell their property if it is seen as an obstruction to a vital project or is for the “greater public good”.

It is not a swift process and can take weeks, months, or even years for the local authority to issue the order. However, it will eventually come to pass. Unless the development suddenly halts.

The following are some of the situations where a CPO may be issued:

This can be a confusing time for the homeowner, as they know that they have to move out of the house but are unsure of when.

With a CPO threat looming over the property, can they still sell it for a reasonable price? Fortunately, a blight notice can be of assistance in this situation.

What is a blight notice?

The law provides a way to force the local authority to buy properties using Compulsory Purchase terms. They can do this by serving a blight notice in the form prescribed by the Council’s planning department or a Chartered Surveyor who specialises in Compulsory Purchase.

To qualify for a blight notice, you must be a resident freeholder or leaseholder with at least three years remaining on your lease. Landlords and owners of empty properties don’t qualify.

You must also prove that you attempted to sell the property through a reputable estate agent for around 6 months and were unable to get genuine offers at a price close to its unblighted value. No need to prove reasonable endeavours to sell if the Government has already issued a Compulsory Purchase Order or similar.

If an authority can demonstrate they have no intention of acquiring the property in the future (e.g. if a regeneration scheme is halted or cancelled), they can defend against a blight notice.

If you need assistance, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) operates a contact centre that can refer you to a firm in your area which provides 30 minutes of free advice on your case.

You may also wish to contact the Compulsory Purchase Association, whose members have the necessary experience to help.

What is a Blight Notice
To qualify for a blight notice, you must be a resident freeholder or leaseholder with at least three years remaining on your lease.

How long does it take to get a blight notice outcome?

Once you’ve sent a blight notice to the council, they must let you know within two months whether they will buy your home or not, and if not, why not. The council has a limited number of grounds on which it can object.

If the council does not respond to you within two months, the blight notice will go into effect automatically and the council will have to purchase your home.

If the blight notice is accepted as valid, a legal notice called a Notice to Treat is served. This commits the authority to acquire the property on Compulsory Purchase terms, either through voluntary sale or compulsion. The authority has three years to do so.

If the council rejects the notice, they will need to provide reasons. These could include: that none of the land is relevant to the blight notice, the acquiring authority does not wish to purchase any of the land, or they only wish to purchase part of it.

If the reasons seem unjustified, you have grounds to appeal. You must do this within two months of receiving the initial outcome.

In some cases, the CPO might be cancelled if, for example, the project is no longer viable or has been altered so that your property and area are no longer affected. In this case, the council can reject the blight application and will not buy your property.

Why do people rarely use blight notices?

Be cautious about what you desire. Blight Notices are uncommon and for good purpose. Firstly, if there is likely to be a lot of disagreement on the worth of the claim (for instance, if similar properties have not recently sold), bargaining the price and related remuneration can be difficult and time-consuming, taking months or even years.

If a consensus cannot be reached, you may end up losing your home with the ability to only receive an advance payment for it (90% of the authorities’ estimation of the value of your claim).

Any surplus would need to be either negotiated or decided through a further prolonged and expensive court procedure.

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