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A blight notice: everything you need to know

Have you heard of a blight notice? Don’t worry if you haven’t, our guide is here to help. From what blight is to how to deal with it, haart can guide you.

If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local branch. Find your local branch

What is a Compulsory Purchase Order and who can get one on my home?

Before we talk about blight, we need to explain a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO). These allow public bodies to force homeowners to sell their property if it obstructs a regeneration/demolition project, or it’s for the “greater public good”.

CPOs can be used for:

  • Major building projects, for example, airport expansions, housing developments, or flood defence works
  • Improving or installing services, for example electric pylons, water mains, and road or rail improvements
  • Clearing areas of bad housing

When a CPO is made, the authority can’t force you to sell right away, but they apply to a government department for powers to be able to do so. It may take months or years before they secure these powers if they do at all, but it’s important to do your research and decide what you want to do next.

What is blight?

Blight is a reduction in the value of your home because of the threat of a CPO. This is because many prospective buyers are likely to be put off buying a property if they believe it may be under threat of demolition or will be in an area subject to major changes in the near future.

Buyers may also not be able to get a mortgage on a property under threat of a CPO. Put simply, your property now has a restricted pool of potential buyers, which can reduce the value of the property.

What is a blight notice?

A blight notice forces the acquiring authority to buy your home on Compulsory Purchase Order terms. You apply through your local council’s planning department or a chartered surveyor, however there are some requirements you must meet before you apply:

  • Only resident freeholders and leaseholders with at least three years remaining on their lease can qualify. If you are a landlord or the property stands empty you cannot apply.
  • You must prove that you have tried to sell the property through a reputable estate agent and have been unable to, unless you substantially reduced its price. Typically, you have to have tried for around 6 months.

If a Compulsory Purchase Order or similar has already been confirmed by Government, as in, the power to force you to sell has been granted, there is no requirement to show reasonable endeavours to sell.

How long does it take to get a blight notice?

Once you’ve sent a blight notice application to your local council, it has to let you know within two months whether or not it will buy your home. If the application is unsuccessful, the council must also tell you why.

If the council doesn’t get back to you within two months, the blight notice will go ahead automatically, and the council will have to buy your home.

If the application is successful, a legal notice called a Notice to Treat is served. This commits the authority to acquiring the property on Compulsory Purchase terms and they have 3 years to do so.

Sometimes, the reason for the CPO might be put on hold or cancelled altogether. In this case, an authority can illustrate that they have no intentions to acquire the property in the future and can successfully defend their position against a blight notice.

Important information about blight notices

It’s important to understand that blight notices are extremely rare as the orders that cause people to apply for them are usually justifiable/ for good reason. Negotiating the price and related compensation can be time consuming and stressful, taking months or years.

In addition, if an agreement cannot be reached, you may end up losing your home with only 90% of the authority’s estimate of the value of your claim. Any excess would need to be either negotiated or settled through a further long and expensive court process.

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