Posted Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Applications to use vacant properties by applying empty dwelling management orders (EDMOs) dropped to just six in 2018 Solving Empty Homes has discovered.
Councils have almost entirely abandoned powers to tackle the rising number of empty homes prompting calls for the legislation to be scrapped and replaced with a scheme local authorities find it easier to use.
It marks an all-time low for the number of applications, having more than halved from 2017. When they were introduced in 2006, the government estimated EDMOs would be used 1,000 times a year. We at SEH think when properly applied they are a great idea.
More than a decade on, thousands of people remain locked out of the housing market due to rising prices, exacerbated by lack of supply. The influential House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs concluded in 2016 that the country needs to build 300,000 new homes every year to tackle the housing crisis.
The most recent figures from the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government reveal there are 205,293 long-term vacant properties in England and the number of empty homes grew between 2016 and 2017.
The Ministry of Justice said it could not reveal how many of these applications were successful because of changes in the way it treats court records under the FOI Act.
The number of EDMO applications has dropped by more than 85% since their peak in 2012, when councils applied to use the power a modest 41 times (see table). In 2006, only two applications were recorded because they didn’t come into force until July of that year.
In April 2008 the then-Minister for Housing Caroline Flint, said: “I want to ensure that the orders that we provided can be used. If there is a reason that they cannot be used, I want to hear about it. However, simply not using them is no excuse.”

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