Getting to the day when local authorities can finally use empty Dwellings Management Orders has been a bit like chasing the end of a rainbow. Whenever you think you've got there it magically jumps ahead of you again. The Housing Act was given Royal assent back in November 2004, but the powers were only usable once a commencement order had been passed. This was due in autumn 2005, but slipped into 2006. When the regulations and commencement order finally arrived on April 6. It enabled the parts of the act relating to EDMOs. Well nearly all of them - it turns out that one section (section 134) was not enabled. This section gives Residential Property Tribunals the power to issue interim EDMOs. Without it none of the rest of the EDMO powers are usable. Section 134 it turns out is just delayed a bit and will be enabled on July 6. When this happens we will finally be there.
What then? Well local authorities won’t be on their own - a series of events and publications are planned for early July.
Firstly the ODPM will be publishing a technical guidance note offering interpretation of the act and the regulations.
Secondly the Empty Homes Agency and IDE&A will be publishing a guidance booklet on astrategicc approach to empty homes showing where EDMOs fit within the large range of methods of getting empty homes back into use
And thirdly there will be a series of regional seminars with free places for local authorities offering advice and good practice.