Council forces house sale to recover debts

A neglected Kilburn property will be brought back into use as a family home after Amber Valley Borough Council enforced its sale to recover unpaid Council Tax, and the cost of vital improvement works they had to carry out.

The property – 15 Church Street - was originally referred to the Council’s Housing team in June 2016 by a local Councillor, as a result of a complaint made to him by a member of the public. The complaint concerned the condition of the property and vermin being seen in the locality.

The property was essentially unoccupied although it was believed that the owner did visit occasionally. The owner was known to the Council as the property had accumulated a large Council Tax debt.

Following unsuccessful attempts to engage with the owner, both at the property and at his place of work, Improvement Notices were served towards the end of 2016.

Housing officers gained entry to the property via a warrant and discovered that the property was in a state of considerable disrepair and additionally that there was a large amount of human excrement and urine in plastic bags and bottles.

The Council carried out works to address several of the issues and clear the property of hazardous waste.

The owner was invoiced for the works and following non-payment, the Council resolved to enforce the sale of the property to recover the debt.

The property was subsequently sold at auction in May 2018 for £116,000.

The Council has received the funds from the sale and recovered debt and costs in the region of £13,500 which is a combination of £5,100 in unpaid Council Tax and £8,400 for the critical work it carried out, and officer time.

The balance of the money received is now in a holding account ready to claim by the mortgagee and owner.

The new owners have already begun a programme of works to renovate the property to enable it to be reoccupied as a family home.

Commented the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and Public Health, Cllr Paul Hillier: “This is a very good result, both in terms of removing a blight on the neighbourhood and improving the quality of life for residents living nearby, but also in bringing back another empty property into use.”

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