COUNCIL bosses are proposing a scheme to ensure vital repairs are carried out in West Dunbartonshire properties, even if one or more owners refuse to stump up their share of the cash.

The plan will see the council pay the “missing shares” from their private sector housing grant budget to a maximum of £4,000, but then recover all the expenses and interest.

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 allows for owners in a tenement to apply to local authorities for a missing share to be paid when the repair work has been agreed by a majority of the owners.

West Dunbartonshire Council, in a report to their corporate services committee this week, says there are a number of buildings where work is being held up - and more structures in the area will need repairs given their age.

Their report states: “Regulatory services, who undertake housing enforcement work within the private sector on behalf of the council, are aware of a number of situations locally where repair works to tenement properties have not gone ahead due to one or more owners failing to pay their share of the costs of a common repair.

“The more traditional style of tenement property that exists within West Dunbartonshire is now of an age and character where regular maintenance and repairs are going to be more commonplace.

“There is currently no practical means of getting these works carried out where one or more owner(s) is not willing to pay, unless the other owners in the block can cover this missing share themselves and attempt to recover the money through a civil action.

“The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors believes that a significant part of Scotland’s existing housing stock is at risk from lack of maintenance.

“Building maintenance is the key to sustaining and future proofing the fabric of buildings of every kind. Nowhere is this more problematical than in the case of buildings in common ownership.”

The council said a high-proportion of pre-1919 tenements in Dumbarton and Alexandria was having a particular disrepair problem. The authority currently can use statutory work notices to help with common repairs, but they can’t afford to fund them.

There would be a number of conditions before the council would pay a missing share, and they would then bill the non-paying owners together with an administration charge and interest for the period of time the debt is outstanding.

A budget of £10,000 has been set aside to administer the missing share scheme and the maximum per property will be £4,000, if councillors give the plan the go-ahead.

The report concludes: “It is anticipated that the implementation of a missing shares scheme will be cost neutral.”