What is an EDMO?

EDMO, also known as an Empty Dwelling Management Order, is exactly that, an order. EDMO’s can give local councils across England and Wales the right to possess a private unoccupied property that has been vacant for at least two years (according to the latest briefing paper by the House of Commons Library). The council do not have the right of ownership to the property, but they are entitled to enter, make any necessary upgrades, manage the property and prevent the owners from having access to the property once the order is in force.

Below are just some of the important points to consider if you have been served a EDMO:

  • An EDMO can only come into effect once the council have had the order approved by The Independent Residential Property Tribunal (now the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) which is the first stage of the process.
  • Before an EDMO can even be issued, the council must contact the property owner at least 3 months before any further action can be taken, to try and work with the owner to bring the property back into use.
  • If the property owner can prove that they intend to revive the property and bring it back into use as either a rental or private residence in the near future, then the council will not be granted an EDMO.
  • However, if the property owner fails to work alongside the council to re-instate the property as liveable and does not intend to occupy the property in the immediate future, then the council maybe be entitled to take possession of the property via an EDMO.
  • Once the council have the approved EDMO, they are responsible for any capital works needed on the property to allow it to be rented or used by housing associations. Any costs will be reimbursed by rent collected. Once full payment has been made, the owner will likely be handed back the property on the condition it remains rented/occupied.
  • An interim EDMO (which is granted first) lasts for twelve months, during which time the council will continue to try and work with the property owner to get the property back into an occupied state. If no agreement between the council and property owner has been made after the twelve months, then the council may apply for a final EDMO which can last up to seven years. If the council is granted a final EDMO, they no longer need the owners’ consent to rent the property to tenants, unlike with an interim EDMO.
  • Property owners can appeal the EDMO process through the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber), and an EDMO process can be cut short if the owner and council come to an agreement. Property owners also have the right to sell their property while it is under an EDMO.

What is the point of an EDMO?

EDMO’s were introduced to help fight several issues that councils and communities are faced with when it comes to unoccupied properties, which include:

  • Lack of social housing.
  • Lack of general rental properties.
  • Empty or derelict properties bringing down the value of their surrounding areas.
  • Empty or derelict properties encouraging theft, break- ins, squatting or arson.
  • General look and feel of the community suffer when unoccupied properties are boarded-up, disused and sit.

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