Thursday, July 06, 2006

Today is the Day

Today is the day that Empty Dwelling Management Orders become effective. Either the end of the civilised world as we know it, or a useful contribution to the campaign to bring empty homes back into use, depending on your opinion. The government’s press release is here.

What this means is that from today Residential Property Tribunals will be able to hear applications from local authorities for interim EDMOs. The tribunals will make a judgement on whether the local authority has made reasonable efforts to assist the owner in finding a voluntary solution to the empty property. It will decide whether there is a reasonable prospect of the property being brought back into use without an EDMO and whether there is a reasonable chance of the local authority bringing it back into use if an EDMO is granted.

A number of local authorities have said claimed that they are going to be the first to use the power, a race to use a new piece of legislation? A slightly worrying thought! To help local authorities make sensible judgements two pieces of guidance will be launched this week. The first a DCLG guidance note on EDMOs provides technical gdance on how the legislation works. The second “A Cure of Empty Homes” is guidance that I have written in a joint Empty Homes Agency I&DeA publication. The purpose of this is guidance is to show the broad range of approaches that local authorities can take to bring empty homes back into use. There are over 20 different approaches explained here. EDMOs are just one of them. If there is a race it should be for a local authority to provide the widest and most comprehensive service to assist owners get homes back into use. Hopefully this guidance will help.
To support the launch of the guidance we a re running four regional seminars with I&DeA. The first was on Tuesday in Birmingham there is also a seminar in Bristol on 12th July, London 18th July and Leeds on 19th July. There are still one or two places available see here for booking information.


  1. Isn't this going to be rather costly for local authorities? I would be surprised if they actually use these powers but you probably know better on this

  2. They should be able to recover their costs from the rent they receive Nigel. But they will only be able to recover "reasonable" costs so for inefficient councils you're right.

  3. Which local authorities say they are going to be first to use this law? It would be useful to know.

  4. I think there is a bit of bravado and bluster in it at the momment so it would unfair to name names, but if a local authority actually starts using the powers you can be sure that this blog will be there letting you know what's happening.