The Housing Act 2004 allows us to take out an empty dwelling management order (EDMO) to make sure that your empty property is used for housing.
We can make EDMOs on properties that have been empty for at least six months. There are two types of EDMO – interim and final. An interim EDMO lasts 12 months but a final EDMO can last up to seven, 14 or 21 years.
An EDMO allows us to:
- ‘step into your shoes’ if you own an unoccupied building and
- make sure that empty properties are occupied and managed properly.
We will bring the property back into use but you will still own it. We can take any costs to improve the property from the rents we receive when we let the property.
The Housing Act 2004 gives us new powers to make sure that properties are safe and suitable to live in. The powers may also apply to empty properties. These changes came into force in April 2006.
- Powers of entry – these allow us to enter a property to inspect it if you refuse to let us in (we have to give you at least 24 hours’ notice). If you stop our officer from getting in, we may get a warrant to enter from the courts. This allows us to force our way in if we have to.
- Power to require information – we can serve notices asking for certain information, for example, about who owns a property. This allows us to act to improve the property using the other powers described.
- Hazard-awareness notices – these will make sure that you or the person responsible is aware of a danger and the need to carry out repairs or alterations.
- Power to serve notices – we can serve improvement notices when work needs to be done to improve living conditions for occupiers or neighbours. The work we specify depends on the conditions we find and what the law allows us to do.
- Powers to enter a property and carry out work (emergency remedial action) – if you do not carry out work to the standard specified by a notice, we have the option of doing the work and charging you for it.
- Power to take over managing properties – there are a number of reasons why we may do this, including not being able to issue a licence or if a property has been empty for a long time.
- Power to close a property (prohibition order) – we would issue this notice only after we had carried out a detailed assessment to decide the best course of action to deal with a seriously substandard property. We might close a property where improvements are too expensive or the condition of the property is too bad to repair. The notice would mean that nobody could live in the property.
- Power to order a property to be domolished or an area is cleared – this is done in similar circumstances to closing a property.