Scotland explores Compulsory Sale Orders for abandoned land and buildings

Having led the way with Empty Homes Premium, Scotland may well be en route to develop a new device for the empty homes toolkit in the form of Compulsory Sale Orders. These would be targeted at 'vacant, derelict and empty land', but in principle this would seem to include empty dwellings.

A blog post by Land Commission Policy Officer Kathie Pollard provides a useful introduction to the project to explore the measure, which is still at a very early stage but which does follow on from 2014 proposals  by the Land Reform Review Group.

The CSO model should be seen more as an alternative to Compulsory Purchase rather than Enforced Sale, as it would be driven by strategic objectives around land use rather than debt.  By removing the disposal of derelict and abandoned sites from the CPO regime it would allow a fresh start around the compensation framework - which in this case would simply be the open market value achieved at auction. Currently, the level of compensation required over and above market value kills CPO dead in its tracks in most circumstances.

The CSO approach would combine well with a long-standing EHN policy position that seeks to establish the category of 'anti-social property', that deserves to be treated differently from that in the possession of responsible owners.

Fingers crossed that this proposal l gains traction in Scotland and helps bring some fresh thinking to approaches in other parts of the United Kingdom.

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