New powers to take over residential properties where owners leave them unoccupied for longer periods of time have been outlined in a consultation paper linked to the Housing Act 2004.
Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) are outlined in the Act as an additional tool for local authorities, which already have powers to engage in leasing arrangements covering unoccupied properties.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which has published the consultation document wants views on exactly how EDMOs should operated in practice. This is because elements of the Housing Act depend on secondary legislation to bring them into force.
The Orders are intended to for owners of unoccupied properties who do not cooperate with attempts at leasing agreements with local authories, or who fail to show good reason why properties should remain unoccupied.
Among the issues being considered in the consultation is whether dwellings should be exempt from EDMOs for the minimum six month period outlined in section 134 of the Act, or whether a longer period should apply.
The government is keen for the legislation not to come across as too heavy-handed, or as a threat to property owners with bone-fide reasons for leaving properties unoccupied.
The Act already makes provisions, for example, for second homes that are not occupied on a continuous basis, dwellings undergoing repairs, property where application for planning permission is outstanding, or where property is genuinely on the market for sale or letting.
A separate consultation will be considered by the Welsh Assembly – also concerning secondary legislation – while the ODPM has set a date of 14 October for submissions in order to put EDMOs in place by the year-end.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Jonathan Boyd on 020 7484 9769 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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