Friday, June 23, 2006

Welcome New Readers

Judging by recent comments we appear to have a new group of readers. Welcome. It’s good to have some different views expressed here. I’m not quite sure I follow the logic of all of your arguments but you certainly seem to hold them quite strongly. In the last few days I have been called an idiot, a tosser and one charming gentleman here advocated stringing me up for my part in the development of Empty Dwellings Management Orders.

Why all the anger? Are these worried owners of empty homes? Perhaps, but I suspect not. What I take from this is that they hold a belief that the introduction of EDMOs has somehow crossed a sacrosanct line in this county’s unwritten constitution. The implication ; property is sacred and it should not be taken away. A reasonable view to hold but there are two problems with their arguments

Firstly it is a false premise. The state has always had limited powers to take property away. Courts can order properties be sold to recover debt, Central and local government can compulsorily purchase property for a variety of reasons (including the fact that they are abandoned), control orders give local authorities the right to take over the management of mismanaged private rented housing. And management orders can be used by local authorities to deal with unlicensed houses in multiple occupation. So there never was a sacrosanct line.

Secondly some comments suggest that the writers have misunderstood the purpose and the workings of EDMOs. EDMOs are not there to procure social housing, or to provide housing for scrotes as one gentleman so delicately put it. EDMOs are one of a range of measures that local authorities can use to help get empty homes back into use. Most other measures are non statutory including for example giving grants to assist with renovation costs, helping owners find tenants, or helping find buyers. EDMOs are a measure of last resort where help and assistance have not been taken up and the owner chooses to keep their property empty.

There are two types of EDMO the first; an interim EDMO can be obtained by a local authority by application to an independent tribunal. The tribunal will hear the local authority’s and the owner’s case and make a decision as to whether an EDMO is appropriate. If they grant it, the interim EDMO can last for up to a year. During this time the local authority cannot put tenants in the property unless the owner agrees. If at any time the owner agrees to sell, let or in any other way cause the property to be reoccupied the order should be revoked. Only if the owner still wants the property to remain empty will the local authority consider serving the final EDMO. This lasts up to seven years and gives the local authority management control over the property. The owner is entitled to appeal to the tribunal at any point if they feel the property is not being looked after properly, inefficiently or indeed if they consider they are being treated unfairly.
So new readers you are welcome, carry on reading and you may find that this is not quite the issue you first thought.


  1. They're a bunch of right wing biggots don't pander to them

  2. I don't agree MSX. There are some important issues being raised here, In particular the point about the rights of property owners versus the rights of those affected by empty homes. I don't think they can be dismissed so easily.

  3. The "sacrosanct line" that has been crossed here is that the government is commandeering private property and using it against the wishes of the owners. If the government has a justifiable need for the asset, then let the government prove that need and pay full value via compulsory purchase.

    This whole regime should be offensive to anyone - right wing, left wing, good speller or bad speller - who cares about individual rights. If every decision comes down to weighing individual rights against the claims of "society", then governments will always be able to justify anything at all.

    I am prepared to believe that you meant well by this, but at least consider that you may have been mistaken.