Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Freedom of Information on Empty Homes - A Decision

A decision by the information tribunal released today means that local authorities must now disclose information on certain empty homes. The decision in the case of Colin England, Bexley Council, and the Information Commissioner orders Bexley council to disclose addresses and ownership details of all long term empty homes that are not owned by individuals. An individual is defined as a natural person or beneficiary of a deceased person. They are not required to disclose details (addresses or ownership details) of properties owned by individuals.

My understanding is that this means that addresses and ownership information on properties empty for more than 6 months owned by local authorities, public bodies, housing associations, organisations and private companies should now be disclosed to those who request it.
A bit of a fudge, but an improvement on the previous position where most local authorities refused to disclose information on any empty homes. Pity the poor souls in council tax departments who have to sift out the individuals from the non-individuals.