Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Ill Wind

The media interest that accompanied the introduction of empty dwelling management orders earlier this month was fairly unanimous in its verdict: EDMOS are a bad thing. As we pointed out in posts on this blog and in our EDMO leaflet many of the views expressed were based on incorrect information. But nevertheless there wasn’t a huge clamour of support in favour of EDMOs either. That doesn’t mean to say that support doesn’t exist. Nobody has done a survey recently (well apart from the Daily Express who’s readers unsurprisingly polled 96% against) But there was a survey a few years ago. Back in 2003 Halifax carried out a survey of public opinion and found 82% support amongst the public for the concept that was then called compulsory leasing. It’s possible of course that opinion may have changed, but there is lots of anecdotal evidence that the recent media interest has caused a lot of people affected by empty homes to lobby their council to use EDMOs. People like Mohammed Usman reported in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus yesterday. People like the woman in Halifax I spoke to yesterday who has lived next door to a derelict empty home for 30 years. People like the couple in London I spoke to a few days ago who have been unable to sell their first floor conversion flat for over a year because the owner of the ground floor flat has decided to leave it empty and let it go to rack and ruin.

Its possible that the media coverage that so opposed EDMOS may actually have indirectly put pressure on local authorities to use the powers. It’s an ill wind.


  1. Not a comment so much as a query. As we know, the empty property of owners resident in nursing homes is exempt from an EDMO. But is there any similar exemption from CPO for such an owner? Advice please! (And no, this is not your standard little old lady I am pursuing. She is in full possession of all her mental faculties. She has a history of owning & abandoning empty property such that condition has deteriorated to a point where some of her property had to be demolished.)

  2. You're right there is an exemption from EDMOs for owners who are absent from the dwelling because they are receiving personal care. The reason for the exemption is I hope fairly obvious. But I detect in your question the possibility that it might not apply in this case. If the owner is a portfolio landlord who has left property empty that is a different situation from a person who’s own home is empty because they are away receiving care. The exemption is for the later scenario not the former. But to answer your question; no, no such exemption applies to compulsory purchase. Although I would urge you to apply the same thinking as you would for an EDMO. Don’t forget compulsory purchase needs secretary of state approval, and Ruth Kelly to her credit is taking a great deal of interest in these cases at the moment. As Liverpool are finding this is not a secretary of state to be fobbed off with technicalities.