What could the Council do if you leave your property empty?
We want to to work with owners of empty homes to bring their property back into use. This helps to provide much needed housing, helps home owners, provides much needed housing and improves areas.
If a home remains empty for a long period of time or we receive complaints about a property, there are powers available to assist the Council to return the Empty Home back into use.
Enforcement will usually take the form of one or more of the following:
- Town and Country Planning Act section 215 Notice
- Building Act 1984 section 79 Notice
- Enforced Sale
- Empty Dwelling Management Order
- Compulsory Purchase Order
Town and Country Planning Act Section 215 Notices
- If the empty home or its land is adversely affecting an area, a notice can be served under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Section 215 to undertake steps to improve the appearance of the Empty Property or its land.
Building Act 1984 Section 79 Notice
If the empty home is in a dilapidated condition and is seriously detrimental to the neighbourhood, the local authority can order the owner:
- To execute works of repair or restoration
- To demolish the building and remove any associated materials
When a debt is owed to the Council such as Council Tax, or if a charge has been placed against the property for any works undertaken by the Council and all reasonable attempts have been made to recover this debt, we can force the sale of the empty home under The Law and Property Act 1925 (Power of Sale). The debts are recovered on sale of the property.
Empty Dwelling Management Orders
We can take over the management of the property using an Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO) under Part 4 of the Housing Act 2004. An interim EDMO allows the Council 12 months to secure the occupation of the home.
If no progress is made within 12 months, the Council can apply for a final EDMO which lasts up to 7 years, but can go up to 21 years and involves the Council taking over full management of the property.
Compulsory Purchase Order
- Under section 17 Housing Act 1985 or section 226 Town & Country Planning Act 1990, the Council has the power to compulsorily purchase the property where the owner is not willing to sell by agreement. The home is then sold on. The local authority may wish to put conditions on the purchase such as the new owners will not own the freehold unless the property is bought back into use within 12 months.
There is also a guide to enforcement action that can be taken to return historic buildings back into use.
There are other powers available to the Council to use, but we will always try to work with the owner, before considering any enforcement action.