Douglas Council uses its powers ’very effectively’ to tackle the issues of dilapidated properties.

Chairman of the environmental services committee Ritchie McNicholl was asked by Councillor Devon Watson whether the council uses its powers sufficiently and if it can do more, by way of penalty fines, to deter neglect.

Councillor McNicholl said that the council’s officers are ’fully supported’ by members of his committee and that their experience is ’that the most expedient and effective way to resolve dilapidated property issues is usually to work with the property owner rather than using an enforcement approach’.

He added: ’There are however occasions when powers under Section 24 of the Building Control Act 1991 have to be used.

’This involves serving notice on the property owner requiring them to undertake works to remove the detriment. Noncompliance is a criminal offence and local authorities have several options if a notice is not complied with.

’It can undertake the works itself and claim the costs for doing so from the owner and it can also pursue a prosecution for noncompliance.’

Mr McNicholl also explained that, while the Building Control Act does provide powers for fixed penalty notice, these are scarcely used as they also remove the council’s option to pursue a prosecution for the offence of noncompliance with the notice.