To date, 17 Interim Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) have been approved by the Residential Property Tribunal Service (RPTS) since the legislation came into effect in April 2006. However, local authorities claim that in many cases the threat of an EDMO has been sufficient to make owners take action to bring long-term empty homes back into use.
We are confident that the legislation is beginning to work well. We always intended that the legislation should be used only as a last resort where other measures have proved unsuccessful. We want to encourage voluntary re-occupation of empty homes but this can only work well where there is realistic compulsion to back them up. EDMOs provide this compulsion and should therefore be a key component of a comprehensive empty property strategy.
We are keen for local authorities to make use of EDMOs, where appropriate, and are supporting the independent Empty Homes Agency’s new guidance on EDMOs. The guidance, which is currently being tested, is internet based and interactive and will take local authorities through the EDMO process step by step. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning is providing a foreword for the guidance.
We are also hosting a seminar at which I will address local authorities encouraging them to take action and to share best practice on tackling empty homes, including the use of EDMOs.