Housing Act 1966

Unfit houses.

66

66. (1) Where a housing authority are of opinion that a house is unfit for human habitation in any respect, the authority shall, unless they are also of opinion that the house is not capable of being rendered so fit in such respect at a reasonable expense, serve on the owner of the house and, in so far as it is reasonably practicable to ascertain such person, on any other person having an interest in the house whether as mortgagee, tenant or otherwise, a notice in writing (in this Act referred to as a repairs notice) specifying the matters in respect of which it is alleged that the house is unfit for human habitation and requiring the owner to execute, within a period specified in the notice, being not less than twenty-eight days beginning on the date of the notice, such works as may be necessary to make the house, as respects the matters specified in the notice, fit for human habitation, and in particular, a repairs notice may, if the authority think fit, specify the works which are, in the opinion of the authority, necessary to make the house so fit for human habitation or to prevent the structure of the house deteriorating, and such owner, his servants or agents shall carry out the works necessary to comply with the requirements of the notice and may, for that purpose, enter on any land.

(2) The housing authority in considering whether a house is unfit for human habitation shall have regard to the extent (if any) to which the house is deficient as respects each of the matters set out in the Second Schedule to this Act.

(3) The housing authority shall, in determining for the purposes of this section whether a house is in any respect capable of being rendered fit for human habitation at a reasonable expense, have regard to the estimated cost of, and the increase in the value of the house which the authority estimate will be attributable to, rendering the house so fit.

(4) Where the housing authority are of opinion that a house is unfit for human habitation in any respect and is not capable of being rendered so fit in such respect at a reasonable expense, they shall serve upon the owner of the house and, in so far as it is reasonably practicable to ascertain such persons, on any other person having an interest in the house, whether as mortgagee, tenant or otherwise, notice of the time (being some time not less than twenty-one days after the service of the notice) and place at which the condition of the house and any offer with respect to the carrying out of works, or the future use of the house, which the owner may wish to submit will be considered by the authority, and every such person shall be entitled to be heard when the matter is so considered.

(5) Where a housing authority have served a notice under subsection (4) of this section, they may, if they think fit, after consultation with the owner of or any person having an interest in the house to which the notice relates, accept an undertaking from him, either that he will within a period specified in the undertaking carry out such works as will, in the opinion of the authority, render the house fit for human habitation, or that the house shall not be used for human habitation until the authority, on being satisfied that it has been rendered fit for the purpose, cancel the undertaking.

(6) In case no undertaking is accepted under subsection (5) of this section by the housing authority, or in case an undertaking has been accepted and any work to which the undertaking relates is not carried out within the period specified in the undertaking, or in case the house is at any time used in contravention of the terms of the undertaking, the authority shall forthwith make one of the following:

( a) an order (in this Act referred to as a closing order) prohibiting the use of the house or any part of the house, for any purpose specified by the housing authority in the order; or

( b) an order (in this Act referred to as a demolition order) requiring, in case an undertaking is so accepted, the person giving the undertaking, or, in any other case, the owner of the house, to do the following:

(i) within a period specified in the order, being not less than twenty-eight days beginning on the date of the order, to vacate the house or cause the same to be vacated and upon such vacation, to secure the house against re-occupation; and

(ii) within six weeks after the expiration of the period so specified, or if the house is not vacated within such period, within six weeks after the date on which it is vacated, or in either case within such longer period as in the particular circumstances the housing authority consider reasonable to specify, to demolish the house and clear and level the site thereof and remove any debris therefrom and, if the authority think fit, to erect a wall or barrier between any open road, street or public place, and any person, his servants or agents, may, for the purpose of complying with the requirements of the demolition order, enter on any land.

(7) A demolition order may, as respects any works the execution of which is necessary for compliance with the requirements of the order, require that the works be carried out in accordance with such conditions F54 [ (including conditions requiring the taking of such reasonable steps as will ensure that the works, either while being carried out or when completed, will neither cause injury to any adjoining or adjacent building nor interfere with the stability thereof) ], if any, specified in the order as the authority think appropriate and in such manner as may be specified in the order.

(8) Where a housing authority have made a demolition order in respect of a house, the authority may, if they think fit, accept from the owner or from any other person having an interest in the house, an undertaking that the house or any part thereof shall thenceforth be used solely for a purpose other than human habitation and specified in the undertaking.

(9) In case a housing authority accept an undertaking under subsection (8) of this section, the following provisions shall apply:

( a) the authority shall, as respects the house or part thereof to which the undertaking relates, thereupon make a closing order under subsection (6) of this section;

( b) upon the making of the closing order the demolition order mentioned in the said subsection (8) shall—

(i) in case it is already operative, cease to be operative,

(ii) in case it has not become operative, remain inoperative,

for so long as, but only for as long as, the closing order remains operative; and

( c) if the house or any part thereof is at any time used in contravention of the terms of the undertaking, the authority shall, notwithstanding subsection (10) of this section, forthwith determine the closing order.

(10) Where a housing authority have made a closing order in respect of a house, the authority may, at any time not less than six months after the making of the order, determine the order and make a demolition order in respect of the house.

(11) Where a housing authority are satisfied that the premises to which a closing order relates or part of such premises have or has been rendered fit for human habitation—

( a) in case the authority are so satisfied as respects such premises, they shall determine the order, or

( b) in case the authority are so satisfied as respects part of such premises, they may, if they think fit, determine the order in so far as it relates to that part,

and notwithstanding paragraph ( b) of subsection (9) of this section, a demolition order shall not become operative by reason only of the fact that the authority have determined a closing order under this subsection.

(12) A housing authority shall, as soon as may be after making a closing order or demolition order or determining a closing order either in whole or in part, serve a copy of the order or notice in writing of the determination on the owner of the house, and, in so far as it is reasonably practicable to ascertain such person, on any other person having an interest in the house.

(13) For the purposes of this Part of this Act, a repairs notice, demolition order or closing order shall become operative;

( a) in case an appeal is made under section 72 of this Act against the notice or order and the court, on such appeal, confirms the notice or order with or without modifications, alterations or additions—on the determination of the appeal by the court or on such other date as the court may decide,

( b) in any other case—on the expiration of the period ending twenty-one days after the date of the service of the notice or the copy of the order.

(14) Whenever a demolition order has become operative, the housing authority shall serve on the occupier of the house to which the order relates a notice in writing stating the effect of the order and specifying the date by which the order requires the house to be vacated and requiring him to quit the house before the said date or before the expiration of twenty-eight days from the service of the notice, whichever is the later, and if at any time after the date on which the notice requires the house to be vacated any person is in occupation of the house, or of any part thereof, the authority or the owner of the house may apply to the justice of the District Court having jurisdiction in the district court district in which the house is situate for the issue of a warrant under this section.

(15) Upon hearing an application duly made under subsection (14) of this section, the justice of the District Court hearing the application shall, in case he is satisfied that the notice required by this section has been duly given and the requirement of the notice has not been complied with, issue the warrant.

(16) The provisions of sections 86, 87 and 88 of the Act of 1860 shall apply in respect of the issue of a warrant under this section and the warrant when so issued shall have the same effect as a warrant under the said section 86.

(17) Nothing in the Landlord and Tenant Acts, 1931 and 1958, or the Rent Restrictions Act, 1960, shall, as respects premises to which a F55 [ ] closing order, demolition order or undertaking accepted under this section relates, prevent—

( a) the owner of the premises,

( b) the person from whom the undertaking was accepted, or

( c) the housing authority,

from obtaining possession of the said premises.