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Details of unoccupied domestic and commercial properties

Dan England made this Freedom of Information request to Bradford City Council

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Dear Bradford City Council,

Please supply me with details of any void / unoccupied homes or commercial properties within your region, with a date from which they have been empty - where possible
I develop properties to bring them back to use as high quality accommodation.
If you have the address details relating to the landlords of said properties please also supply this.

Yours faithfully,

Dan England

Mark Dewar, Bradford City Council

Dear Dan,

 

I refer to the freedom of information request submitted to Bradford
Council on 9 April 2018.  Your request, and the Council’s response, are
both detailed below.

 

Your request:

 

Please supply me with details of any void / unoccupied homes or commercial
properties within your region, with a date from which they have been empty
- where possible I develop properties to bring them back to use as high
quality accommodation.

If you have the address details relating to the landlords of said
properties please also supply this.

 

Council’s response:

 

Under part 1 section 1 (1) (a) of the FOIA 2000, I can confirm that the
Bradford Council does hold limited information about certain empty and
derelict properties in the district, however the Council has concerns
about general crime and security risks in making data available to the
public at large.  Under part 2 Section 31 (1) (a) of the Freedom of
Information Act, information can be exempt if its disclosure under this
Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention or detection of
crime. To publish a list of empty and derelict properties would, in our
view, increase the probability of such properties being subject to
burglary, criminal damage, squatters and benefit fraud, and would
therefore prejudice the prevention of such crimes. While the Council still
maintains that view, it is nevertheless aware that the Information
Commissioner has required another local authority to provide that
information and therefore does not seek to rely on this exemption in
relation to concerns about general crime and security risks. 

 

The Council also has very particular concerns, based on local experience,
that release of this information into the public domain could specifically
prejudice the prevention of ownership fraud and electoral fraud. There
have been very recent cases of empty properties being used to facilitate
both electoral fraud and ownership fraud within the Bradford district.
 Commission of these particular crimes relies on the provision of a valid
address. Reliance is therefore placed on the Section 31(1) (a) exemption
because it is firmly believed that release of the requested information
into the public domain would be likely to make it easier for such fraud to
be perpetrated and would thereby prejudice the prevention of these types
of offences.

 

In applying the public interest test consideration has been given to the
fact that there may be public interest benefits in publishing a list of
empty properties, and also commercial advantages in making this
information available.  However, the Council believes that in view of the
particular circumstances and local experience as outlined above, the
public interest in withholding this information outweighs the public
interest in disclosing it. In making that decision the overriding factor
has been the concern to preserve the integrity of the election process by
reducing the opportunities for electoral fraud.

 

While the Council therefore is not prepared to provide the information
requested, should you identify an empty property, the Council would be
prepared to pass on a letter to the owner on your behalf if the owner's
contact details are known. The Empty Homes & Loans Team can be contacted
on 01274 434520 or at [1][email address]

 

Please note that a copy of your request has been passed onto my Asset
Management service for them to respond regarding commercial properties.

 

If you are not satisfied with this response you have the right to ask for
an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted within
one month of the date of receipt of the response to your original request
and should be addressed to Freedom of Information Officer, 1st Floor
Britannia House, Hall Ings, Bradford BD1 1HX or by e-mail
[2][Bradford City Council request email]

 

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome of the internal review you
have the right of appeal to the Information Commissioner who can be
contacted at : Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water
Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745           URL:
[3]https://ico.org.uk/

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Mark
Dewar                                                                          

Service Coordination Officer

Economy & Development

 

8th Floor,

Margaret McMillan Tower,

Bradford, BD1 1NN

 

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Department of Place

 

Get the Bradford Council mobile app: [4]www.bradford.gov.uk/app

 

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If you would like to make a Freedom of Information request, please visit
our website [5]http://www.bradford.gov.uk/foi before you submit a request
as you may find the information and data that you want in the data that we
already publish in our Publication Scheme. The Scheme has a significant
amount of information which is available to you, without the need for a
specific request, and describes how we work and how to obtain information
published by our various departments.

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[Bradford City Council request email]
3. https://ico.org.uk/
4. http://www.bradford.gov.uk/app
5. http://www.bradford.gov.uk/foi

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Dan England please sign in and let everyone know.