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How we deal with problematic and long term empty properties

How we deal with problematic and long term empty properties

Where ever possible we want to work with and support you the owner to bring your property back into use. We have developed a range of options and financial products to assist owners. However, when negotiations with you about your empty property do not succeed, we have a range of powers available to make sure the property is reused.

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What powers do we have?

You can find out about the legislation listed below using the links provided.

Compulsory purchase orders (CPOs)

Serving compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) on empty properties may be justified where there appears to be no other chance of a suitable property being used as a home. Before a CPO is confirmed, we will have to show that we have taken steps to encourage you to bring the property into acceptable use. We will also need to show that our reasons for making a CPO justify interfering with your human rights or those of anyone else with an interest in the property.

Housing Act 1985, Section 17

This Act gives us the power to take over land, houses or other properties to increase the number of houses available or improve the quality of the housing stock. The main uses of this power are to get land for housing. This includes bringing empty properties back into use as homes, and improving substandard ones. Where we get control of a property through this power, we will usually sell it to:

  • a private-sector developer, or
  • an owner-occupier, or
  • a registered social landlord

See also: Housing Act 1985 on the UK Legislation website

Empty Dwelling Management Orders

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.

See also: Housing Act 2004 on the UK Legislation website

Enforced sales procedures - Law of Property Act 1925

Where we have issued and enforced a charge against a property you own, we have all the legal rights of a mortgage lender under the Law & Property Act 1925. We may have issued the charge against the property because you did not:

  • obey the terms of a statutory notice we issued for example a Town and County Planning Act S.215 notice, or
  • pay Council Tax or other debts you owed to the local authority

See also:

Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Section 226

The powers in section 226 are intended to help local authorities which have planning powers to take control of the land they need to put in place their community strategies and local development documents. These planning powers are wide enough to allow us to take over land for redevelopment.

See also: Town and Country Planning Act 1990 on the UK Legislation website

Dangerous or dilapidated Buildings or structures
Building Act 1984, Sections 77 & 78

We can order you to make property safe or allow us to take emergency action to make it safe. Statutory nuisance (statutory nuisance or premises which can affect health).

See also: Building Act 1984 on the UK Legislation website

Environmental Protection Act, 1990, Section 80,
Building Act 1984, Section 76

We can order you to make your property safe or allow us to take emergency action to make the building safe.

See also: Environmental Protection Act 1990 on the UK Legislation website

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, Section 29

We can order you to: make your property secure or allow us to board it up in an emergency or allow us to fence off the property.

See also: Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 on the UK Legislation website

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