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When an occupier may be entitled to rehousing during repair work.

Occupiers may be entitled to rehousing by the local authority where they are displaced by compulsory acquisition as a result of:[1]

  • a closing or demolition order
  • where possession has been obtained in order to comply with a prohibition order, or
  • by the local authority carrying out redevelopments or improvements (leading to permanent disturbance).

Short-life users who have been permitted to use the land pending demolition or improvement and trespassers are not entitled to rehousing;[2] only people living in the property at the time of the decision to acquire, demolish or rebuild are entitled to rehousing.

The displacement must be from residential accommodation, and rehousing is only allowed if 'suitable alternative residential accommodation' on reasonable terms is not available to the displaced person. Normally it is the local housing authority that has the rehousing obligation.

The duty on local authorities does not give a priority to the occupier above those on the waiting list or those being housed as homeless. Local authorities are entitled to put the applicant into temporary accommodation pending rehousing. In one case where the local authority had made a compulsory purchase, the applicant had refused two offers of permanent accommodation. The local authority had fulfilled its duty by providing bed and breakfast accommodation until more suitable accommodation was available.[3] The authority would also be fulfilling its duty by providing temporary accommodation until permanent accommodation could be provided.[4]

If the displacement is as a result of an acquisition by an authority possessing compulsory purchase powers, and that acquisition was itself a response to a blight notice under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, there is no right to rehousing.[5]

[1] s.39 (1) Land Compensation Act 1973, as amended by para 6, Sch.15 Housing Act 2004

[2] s.39(3) Land Compensation Act 1973.

[3] R v East Hertfordshire District Council ex p Smith (1990) 23 HLR 26.

[4] R v Bristol Corporation ex p Hendy [1974] 1 WLR 498.

[5] s.39(2) Land Compensation Act 1973.

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