Joyce v St Albans District Council  EWLands ACQ_51_2004 (01 September 2005)
LANDS TRIBUNAL ACT 1949
COMPENSATION – compulsory purchase – dwelling house in dilapidated condition – value by reference to subsequent sale or by residual valuation – whether compensation based on actual condition should be increased to reflect acquiring authority's approach to renovation grant application or the indication of forthcoming compulsory acquisition – whether claimant entitled to home loss payment – Compensation awarded £240,000 – Land Compensation Act 1961 s9 and s5, rule (6) – Land Compensation Act 1973 s30.
IN THE MATTER OF A NOTICE OF REFERENCE
MARY-JO JOYCE Claimant
ST ALBANS DISTRICT COUNCIL Acquiring Authority
Re: 20 Marlborough Road
Hertfordshire AL1 3XQ
Before: N J Rose FRICS
Sitting at Procession House, 110 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6JL
on 22, 25-26 and 28-29 July 2005
Claimant in person
Guy Williams, instructed by Head of Legal and Democratic Services, St Albans City and District Council, for the Acquiring Authority.
The following cases were cited:
Vyricherla Narayana Gajapatiraju v Revenue Divisional Officer, Vizagapatam  AC 302
Richards and Richards v Somerset County Council  RVR 204
Thorton v Wakefield MDC (1991) 62 P&CR 441
Horn v Sunderland Corporation  1 All ER 380
Kovacs v City of Birmingham DC (1984) 272 EG 437
Director of Buildings and Lands v Shun Fung Ironworks Ltd  2 AC 111
Harvey v Crawley Development Corporation  1 QB 485
Wickham Growers Ltd v Southern Water Plc (1997) 73 P & CR 351
Ingle v Scarborough BC  RVR 177
Prasad v Wolverhampton BC  Ch 333
London and Clydeside Estates Ltd v Aberdeen DC (1980) 39 P & CR 549
Trocette Property Co Ltd v Greater London Council (1974) 28 P & CR 408
Hackney LBC v MacFarlane (1970) 21 P & CR 342
Value of freehold in disrepair
Claim for additional value
"All in all I am satisfied that during the long and complicated history of events relating to this property Council officers failed on occasions to act in accordance with statutory duties, Government guidance and Council policy. For example they did not issue a revised schedule of work in 1991 or take proper action on the s.80 and s.189 notices and subsequent enforcement. They sometimes acted inconsistently; gave inaccurate information and some letters could have been more clearly worded. In some instances their actions may have been coloured by their view that it was Ms Joyce's choice to live in an unfit house and that she was unwilling to do work to it of her own accord."
"191. On the other hand some of Ms Joyce's actions have hampered efforts to improve the property. In particular she did not pursue the opportunity given by the availability of a 100 per cent grant in 1989 when costs were relatively low, and she agreed to a court order, which she believed was incorrect. It seems to me that her concern to ensure that every detail of every matter was handled correctly hindered progress particularly as the situation became more complex. She put forward inconsistent or contradictory arguments at times, for example as to whether she had sufficient financial resources or whether the work was a single interrelated package or could be divided into self-contained elements such as the roof.
192. On reflection perhaps both sides could have handled many matters better and it seems to me that the present state of the order property is due to the cumulative effect of various actions or failures to take action by both Ms Joyce and the Council in the past. However, there are many unknowns and imponderables to be taken into account when assessing what might have happened if situations had been dealt with differently at various times in the past. I am not convinced from the evidence before me that the outcome would have necessarily been significantly different in terms of the condition of the property."
"8.1 The maximum grant entitlement in respect of Miss Joyce's application is £50,000. It is considered that since the VAT inclusive cost of total works was £57,000 at the time of approval and the grant aided works were £43,000 even at maximum the costs of the works will be greater than the grant available. Miss Joyce is on income support and has no resources which would fund the shortfall to bring the house back to a reasonable state of repair.
"Further to Minute 179 above, the property in question was 20 Marlborough Road, St Albans, which was owned by Miss Mary-Jo Joyce. It was unfit for human habitation by reason of gross disrepair and was causing a statutory nuisance to neighbouring premises by reason of penetrating dampness and a major pigeon infestation.
There had been a long history of attempts to make the house fit for habitation and to abate the nuisance going back to 1981, including application by the owner for a renovation grant which was eventually approved. Grant works were required to be completed within 12 months of approval and a formal extension of time was granted which would finish in September 1999. Although on 22 March 1999 the owner had confirmed that works would commence in 4 to 6 weeks time, no works had commenced …
There seemed to be no realistic prospect that the owner would undertake works of her own volition and the Committee were recommended to commence proceedings towards a Compulsory Purchase Order to enable the house to be brought back into a habitable condition.
Members and Officers acknowledged the difficult situation with regard to this case and the need to handle the negotiations with sensitivity, tact and diplomacy. The point was made that the decision to proceed with a Compulsory Purchase Order was in principle only and, once Miss Joyce had been notified of the Council's intended actions, it was possible that a compromise could be reached."
"I am very concerned at the considerable time that it is taking to repair your property. The grant was approved on 18 March 1998 with a condition that the work should be completed within 12 months. I must advise you that the Council have considered this matter further and resolved it may be necessary to compulsorily purchase the property. I would like to invite you to this office to discuss this matter."
"and reassured him about his concerns regarding stage payments whilst works are carried out to your house. I have also received his assurance that his company are still interested in carrying out the works."
"has prepared a revised draft specification based on achieving the fitness standard but not exceeding the grant limit. I enclose a copy for your consideration."
"items that could possibly be removed from the works schedule to reduce the cost of work."
Mr Hide added
"I have not checked out how much difference the above would make to reducing the grant costs. Most of the costs, however, are fairly minor except the basement tanking, front basement window and central heating. Unless Miss Joyce is prepared to accept that work will not be carried out to the basement rooms I cannot see how the costs can be reduced to anywhere near the £50,000."
"No account shall be taken of any depreciation of the value of the relevant interest which is attributable to the fact that (whether by way of designation, allocation or other particulars contained in the current development plan, or by any other means) an indication has been given that the relevant land is, or is likely to be acquired by an authority possessing compulsory purchase powers."
Home loss payment
"A person shall not be entitled to a home loss payment unless the following conditions have been satisfied throughout the period of one year ending with the date of displacement –
(a) he has been in occupation of the dwelling, or a substantial part of it, as his only or main residence; and
(b) he has been in occupation as aforesaid by virtue of an interest or right to which this section applies
but, if those conditions are satisfied on the date of displacement… a 'discretionary payment') may be made to him of an amount not exceeding the amount to which he would have been entitled if he had satisfied those conditions throughout that period."
Dated: 1 September 2005
N J Rose FRICS