AN entire tenement block in an area notorious for private rented slum housing will be taken over in a compulsory purchase order.

The seven flats in Westmoreland Street, Govanhill, have been ruled uninhabitable by authorities. 

The move will mark the first time landlords will be forced to sell in the area because they have failed to maintain the property. 

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It is also thought to be the first time a whole block with existing residents will be taken over under compulsory purchase, in the city.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times: The city council and Govanhill Housing Association have funds from the Scottish Government to buy up properties to allow them to be refurbished and brought up to standard.

At least three of the flats in the corner block are occupied and there are several children living in the homes.

Action has already been taken in a bid to force landlords to make improvements or sell up.

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Three private owners at 97 Westmoreland Street have been removed from the landlords register, another flat has been deemed below tolerable standard and another has been closed and boarded up to prevent illegal occupation.

From the outside, the block looks similar to many others in the area. Inside the close, the signs of squalor and decay quickly become visible.

The entrance to the back stair of the close is locked and a sign up stating “Hazardous Area. No unauthorised access”. On the top floor which appears unoccupied, the stairs and landing are littered with pieces of silver foil stained with brown streaks, apparent evidence of drug taking.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times: In one flat on the second floor a family with several small children are living.

One woman said they knew nothing about plans for the flat to be taken over and was worried where they would live. She said the landlord was an Indian lady.

Under the plans any remaining tenants will be offered to be rehoused by Govanhill Housing Association according once their needs have been assessed.

One flat on the first floor is secured with a steel door and another on the top floor with a large padlock.

The stair railing is broken in several places and a strong smell of urine carries on up the stairs.

Other occupants on the tenement said they didn’t understand English when asked about the condition of their flat.

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In a report to councillors asking for the CPO approach to be approved, Richard Brown, executive director of regeneration, said: “The condition of this building has been an ongoing cause for concern with the council using its full range of statutory powers to first repair the building then impose a maintenance plan on the owners.

Glasgow Times:

“When this failed Govanhill Housing Association targeted the acquisition of all the flats, managing to only acquire flat 1/1 on a voluntary basis in July 2017.”

The report said the remaining private landlords have not maintained the common close and there has been reports of anti-social behaviour within flats and the close.

There are four properties in the block with registered landlords.

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Aanu Sarker, owns a second floor flat,  Syed Hussain Ali Shah owns a first floor flat, Akram Ul-Haq owns a property on the ground floor and Mark Barrett owns one on the third floor.

They will all face losing their flats and then able to apply for market value compensation unless they agree to sell voluntarily before the Compulsory Purchase Order is completed.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times: A council spokesman said: “The costs of this action will initially only be legal costs, which will be met by Govanhill Housing Association.  

“Owners will have the right to apply for compensation at market value if they do not agree to sell on a voluntary basis, which they can do so at any stage of the CPO process.

Westmoreland Street is in an Enhanced Enforcement Area which gives Glasgow City Council strong powers to deal with properties in the private rented sector.

It is backed by a £20million fund over four years to  purchase properties to bring them up to standard. Hundreds of flats have been acquired by the council from landlords and owners.