Can I have a list of all the empty properties?
The Council is unable to supply a list of properties owned by individuals, as this information is exempt from disclosure under S31 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the prevention or detection of crime) and S40 (3) (a) (i) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (personal data)
S31 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Prevention or detection of crime
This states that information is exempt from disclosure if such disclosure would be likely to prejudice "the prevention or detection of crime". It is the Information Commissioners view that the prevention and detection of crime includes the physical security of buildings. Although this is a qualified exemption and therefore subject to a public interest test, it is the Council's opinion that it would not be in the public interest to disclose this information. This is because a disclosure of empty property details could lead to cases of burglary, arson, vandalism, or squatting.
S40 (3) (a) (i) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 - personal data
This provides that information which comprises personal data is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act where disclosure of the information would breach the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998. As individuals who own empty property will not have been informed that information regarding their property will be disclosed and as they would have a reasonable expectation that a Local Authority would not disclose this information, and that their property will be secure, then disclosure would amount to a breach of the fair processing requirements of Principle 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998.
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