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Disclosure of empty property details

We receive many requests for information regarding empty private sector dwellings within the Bury area.

Any information we hold, such as addresses and/or ownership details, is exempt from disclosure under section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act and will therefore not be provided as disclosure would, or would be likely, to prejudice the prevention of crime.

This exemption also requires a consideration of what is known as 'the public interest test.' In relation to that, we are satisfied that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest to disclosure.

Disclosure and Freedom of Information

We do not disclose information regarding private empty properties in the Bury borough under the Freedom of Information Act and we do not publish this information online.

This is based on the Information Tribunal decision in the case of Mr P England and the London Borough of Bexley and the Information Commissioner Appeal no: EA/2006/0060 and 0066. In this particular case, Mr England had requested statistics of empty residential properties including the addresses of the properties concerned and information as to why the property was empty, or details of ownership, from the London Borough of Bexley. Following a refusal by the London Borough of Bexley, the case had been placed before the Information Commissioner and before the Information Tribunal for determination.

The Information Tribunal found that the address of the property and the address or other details of the owner, where the owner was an individual, were personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act.

We must abide by the provisions of the Data Protection Act and it would be neither fair nor lawful to supply a list of empty properties and their owners for public use.