Prohibition Order

A prohibition order imposes prohibitions on the use of residential premises or part of premises including HMOs whether for all purposes or for any particular purpose. For example, a prohibition order may prohibit a certain room within a property being occupied. It may extend to common parts of buildings containing flats.The order becomes operative 28 days after it is made. [1]

There are complicated provisions as to whom should be served with the notice, but in summary it is to be served on [2]:

  • an owner or occupier of the whole or part of the specified premises
  • any person authorised to permit occupation
  • mortgagee of the whole or part of the premises
  • for buildings containing flats, every person who to the local authority’s
  • knowledge is an owner or mortgagee of the premises in which the common parts are comprised (service can be by fixing to some conspicuous part of the building).

The order must state whether it has been made to deal with Category 1 or 2 hazards, the deficiencies in the specified premises giving rise to the hazard, the nature of the hazard itself, and what work would be necessary in order for the prohibition order to be revoked.

It is an offence to fail to comply with a prohibition order without reasonable excuse. Landlords committing such an offence may also be subject to a:

  • rent repayment order, or
  • banning order.

The local authority must revoke the order if, at any time, it is satisfied that the hazard(s) in respect of which the order was made no longer exists (see Vaddaram v East Lindsey DC [2012] UKUT 194 (LC)). Where there are a number of hazards and some no longer exist then the local authority may revoke in part and vary the order with the agreement of all those served with a copy [3].

Emergency action

Local authorities have powers to take emergency remedial action or make emergency prohibition orders where there is:

  • a Category 1 hazard
  • an imminent risk of serious harm to health or safety to any of the occupiers, and
  • no management order (usually relating to a HMO) in force.

An emergency prohibition order has immediate effect in prohibiting the use of all or part of premises.

The local authority has to serve a notice of taking the emergency remedial action within seven days of starting to take the action. Generally, the requirement is that the emergency action notice is served on the person having control of the property. The notice of emergency remedial action must state:

  • the nature of the hazard and the residential premises on which it exists,
  • the deficiency giving rise to the hazard,
  • the premises in relation to which emergency remedial action has been (or is to be) taken by the authority under section 40 and the nature of that remedial action,
  • the power under which that remedial action has been (or is to be) taken by the authority,
  • the date when that remedial action was (or is to be) started,
  • The right to appeal, and
  • The time within which an appeal may be made.

Copies of the emergency prohibition order have to be served on the day the order is made or, if that is not possible, as soon after as is possible.

Emergency remedial action should remove the imminent risk of serious harm. The word imminent has been held to imply ‘a good chance that the harm will be suffered in the near future’ (see Bolton MBC v Patel [2010] UKUT 334 (LC)).

[1] Section 24 of the Housing Act 2004

[2] Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 2004

[3] Section 25 of the Housing Act 2004

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