Argyll and Bute Council highlights property owners’ responsibilities

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Published Date: 

1 Aug 2014 - 10:39

Ultimately responsibility for the maintenance of a property lies with the owner

The council will take action against buildings which are considered to be an imminent danger to public safety

The main role of the council’s building standards service is to maintain public safety in and around buildings. It is their responsibility, on behalf of the council, to ensure that any risk to the public caused by dangerous buildings is removed.

Buildings become dangerous for a variety of reasons including:

  • Building neglect
  • Its extreme age
  • Storm damage
  • Ground subsidence
  • Fire damage
  • Vandalism

Under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 the local authority has the power to immediately remove danger to the public caused by dangerous buildings where the owner is unable, unwilling or cannot be located. Where time permits formal notices against the owners of buildings deemed to be in a state of disrepair or in a dangerous condition will be issued first.

Each situation is considered on its own merits. When property owners can be identified it is always preferable to have them instruct any works required to remove the danger.

Enforcement action is a last resort.

Formal notices may require the immediate evacuation of the dangerous building and will specify the work to be carried out to remove danger and a timeline for doing so.

If, after the given notice period, the owner(s) has/have not complied with the notice, the council may have to commission and pay for the necessary work, however, recouping the costs of the work is difficult, with the debt only recoverable through the civil court process.

This process may be made more difficult if the council is unable to identify the current owner(s) of properties and, on other occasions, if the owner(s) does/do not have the resource to pay for the repairs.

Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Planning and Regulatory Services, Councillor David Kinniburgh, said: ‘’The general upkeep of a building is the responsibility of the owner; our building standards team will only intervene when a building is imminently dangerous to public safety.

‘’If you live in a shared building then communicating with fellow owners is vital. Talking to your fellow owners before any damage and/or decay occurs to common items can make you aware of where you stand in relation to repair works and some residents may also have useful skills and contacts that can be used for any repairs.

‘’Setting up an owners’ association or appointing a factor is also a good idea. A building condition survey should be carried out every five years by a property professional so you know the exact condition of your building.

‘’Regular routine repairs will also ensure that buildings retain their value.’’

To report a dangerous building during office hours please phone 01546 605514.

Outwith office hours you should contact Police Scotland.

For further information about your maintenance responsibilities go to:

Or have a look at our tenement maintenance guide at: