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Housing (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

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Sharing of information relating to empty properties

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1.—(1) DFP must, if requested to do so by an authorised officer, disclose to DSD or the Executive any empty property information which DFP has obtained for the purpose of carrying out its rating functions, if the information is disclosed for the purpose of enabling or assisting DSD or the Executive to—

(a)identify vacant dwellings, or

(b)take steps to bring vacant dwellings back into use.

(2) “Empty property information” is—

(a)any information which indicates or suggests that a property is unoccupied;

(b)the address of any such property;

(c)contact details for the owner of the property and (if different) any person chargeable to rates in respect of it;

(d)contact details for the last known occupier of the property;

(e)contact details for any person who is acting, or has acted, as agent on behalf of the owner or occupier of the property or on behalf of any person chargeable to rates in respect of it;

(f)any description of the property, including its rateable values (within the meaning given by Article 17 of the 1977 Order).

(3) DSD or the Executive must, if requested to do so by an authorised officer, disclose to DFP any rating-related information which DSD or the Executive has obtained in the exercise of any function relating to vacant dwellings, if the information is disclosed for the purpose of enabling or assisting DFP to exercise its rating functions.

(4) “Rating-related information” is—

(a)any information which indicates or suggests that a property is occupied;

(b)the address of any such property;

(c)the nature of the occupation and the date on which it began;

(d)contact details for the occupier of the property and (if different) the owner of it;

(e)contact details for any person who is acting, or has acted, as agent on behalf of the owner or occupier of the property.

(5) In this section—

“the 1977 Order” means the Rates (Northern Ireland) Order 1977;

“authorised officer” means—

(i)

in the case of a request under subsection (1), an officer of DSD or (as the case may be) the Executive authorised to make such a request, or

(ii)

in the case of a request under subsection (3), an officer of DFP authorised to make such a request;

“contact details” for a person are the person’s name and address and details of any other means of communicating with the person;

“DFP” means the Department of Finance and Personnel;

“DSD” means the Department for Social Development;

“the Executive” means the Northern Ireland Housing Executive;

“owner” has the meaning given by Article 2(2) of the 1977 Order;

“rating functions” are any functions under the 1977 Order or the Rates (Capital Values, etc) (Northern Ireland) Order 2006;

“vacant dwelling” means a dwelling-house in which no-one lives.

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