Report highlights pitfalls of sell-offs

THE LEGAL pitfalls faced by local authorities when they sell off property assets are outlined in a new report published by City firm Nabarro Nathanson.

Nabarros planning partner David Hawkins drew up the document with Stephen Clark, a partner in the local authority consultancy of surveyors Hillier Parker.

The report advises councils on how to make the most on property sales under the terms of section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972.

Local authorities must secure the "best consideration" that could be "reasonably obtained". However, all the terms are open to interpretation, and misinterpretation could land an authority in court.

Hawkins said the report explored the legal implications of the Act and outlined which factors other than price should be taken into account.

He added: "It is becoming increasingly important for local authorities to have a thorough appreciation of both legal and property considerations when disposing of assets."