Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What is a PROD?

It’s a question nobody has asked for about five years, but after last week’s decision by Ruth Kelly to force Liverpool council to sell some of it’s empty homes, it’s being asked again What is a PROD?

A PROD (Public Request Ordering Disposal) is a power available to anybody to request that publicly owned property is sold. The little known section originates from The Housing and Planning ACT 1980. It was allegedly passed to prevent councils from keeping properties boarded up to avoid having to sell them under “right to buy”

The power applies to most publicy owned property unfortunately properties owned by the NHS and the Ministry of Defence are exempt but property owned by the following landowners is covered:
Government Bodies, Local and Regional Authorities, and other departments owning Crown land. The Commission for the New Towns and the Housing Corporation.
The British Coal Corporation, Civil Aviation Authority, and the Post Office.
British Broadcasting Corporation and Independent Broadcasting Authority.
British Waterways Board and National Rivers Authority.
British Rail, London Regional Transport, and Passenger Transport Executives.
Some of these organisations have merged, been privatised, or simply ceased to exist since the legislation was drawn up so a degree of interpretation is needed. But if you come across publicly owned empty homes you can use a PROD yourself to try and force it back into use or onto the market.

If you want to do a PROD you need to write to the Director of Planning for your regional Government Office and tell them about the property that is empty. They will investigate and find out why it is empty. If there is no valid reason , the secretary of state has the power to order sale of the property. The process works like this:
The Government Office will contact the owner. They will find out as much as possible about the property and the owner's reasons for keeping it empty.
The Secretary of State will decide whether the site should just be entered onto the Land Registers or whether an Order of Disposal should be made.
If disposal is decided on, the owner will be given 42 days in which to make representations before a decision is made.
Sale is usually on the open market - by auction, tender, or private treaty.You will be kept informed of the outcome.


  1. Did anyone catch an item on BBC Radio 4's "Today" programme this morning about listeners being able to suggest a story to be taken up by Polly Billington (I think)?

    I am dealing with a group of 24 empty homes locally owned by the MoD (so I can't PROD them alas!) and thought this could be a runner for the programme but can't find anything on the Radio 4 website about it.

    Help please!

  2. Even if the PROD power doesn't strictly apply to MOD property I'm sure governemnt offices and indeed the minister would want to hear about it. Try it anyway. I'm a firm beliver that public pressure works.
    Polly Billington is a reporter on the Today programme. You can contact her from this page:
    I've heard that there is an item on this issue scheduled for the "You and Yours" programme on Monday.

  3. Maybe there should be an ongoing campaign to resusitate prods. there are vast amounts of public properties unused in certain boroughs.