Building standards enforcement handbook: first edition

The building standards enforcement handbook provides clarification on the enforcement powers for local authorities as set out in the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

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8  Evacuation of buildings

8.1 Who is served with a notice

Notice of requirement for occupants to evacuate a building from local authorities should be in writing and must require occupants to evacuate immediately where the local authority considers occupants are endangered by the state of the building. This applies in relation to work arising from a dangerous building notice as well as emergency work. The requirement to remove from a building is relevant to all enforcement notices when the nature of work required, such as demolition or stabilisation, means continued occupation would be unsafe.

A copy of the notice should be sent to the owner of the building where the owner is not also the occupier.

8.2 Enabling the serving of a notice

If an occupant fails to evacuate a dangerous building or an adjacent building when required by LAs, a warrant may be sought from the sheriff for the ejection of the occupant. If the occupant is required to move immediately, the warrant can be applied for at any time. If, however, the notice to remove specifies a time period, the warrant can only be applied for when that time period expires.

The application to the sheriff must include a certificate, Forms Regulations, Form 15 - Certificate to accompany application for warrant to exercise powers of entry, inspection or testing . This confirms that the occupant will be exposed to danger or has the potential to be exposed to danger, as a result of the dangerous building or the work proposed to the dangerous building (including demolition). The sheriff may require the service of a notice in terms of schedule 5(4) - Evacuation of buildings, but this is in addition to any notice already served by LAs in terms of section 42. A copy should be sent to the sheriff.

Where LAs intend to carry out work upon the failure of the owner to comply with the terms of a notice, and they consider that the occupant may be endangered by such work, the sheriff may grant a warrant of ejection. In any other case the sheriff must grant a warrant for the ejection of the occupier within seven days of the application or if a notice is required under schedule 5(4), within seven days of the date of the notice. There is no right of appeal against the sheriff's decision.

Schedule 5(8) advises the sheriff that the information contained in the certificate accompanying the application for a warrant to eject is sufficient evidence of the facts in the certificate. Schedule 5(9 to 11) give rights to tenants in relation to maintaining their tenancy agreement and non-payment of rent during the time that they have not been able to occupy the building.

Section 43 - Unlawful occupation of evacuated buildings, sets out that it is an offence for a person who has been evacuated/ejected from a building in accordance with section 42 and/or schedule 5 to thereafter occupy the building. However when the need for occupants to vacate buildings has passed, LAs must give notice, in writing, that occupation may resume.



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