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Councils not using empty home powers

Councils have abandoned the powers to tackle the rising number of empty home, according to a modular home provider.

This has prompted calls for the legislation to be replaced with a scheme local authorities find easier to use.

Applications to seize vacant properties using Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) dropped to just six in 2018, said Project Etopia, after it sent a Freedom of Information to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). This is a decline of 85 per cent when compared with 2012.

When they were introduced in 2006, the government estimated EDMOs would be used 1,000 times a year.

Joseph Daniels, CEO of Project Etopia, said: “If EDMOs are too difficult to obtain, then these powers should be replaced by a new scheme that councils are able to use more effectively.

“Councils want to return empty homes to use and we should be supporting them in doing that. Local authorities should be given new powers that recognise the challenges involved, from respecting the difficult circumstances that can sometimes result in these homes sitting vacant to the rights of those who own these properties.

“Rather than ascribing blame, this is a cross-party issue that urgently needs the attention of everyone in Westminster. Politicians need to come together in the national interest to see that EDMOs are replaced or reformed.”

Rhondda Cynon Taf Empty Homes Strategy 2018-2021

https://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/EN/Resident/Housing/PrivateRentedHousing/Relateddocuments/RCTEmptyHomesStrategy.pdf

Rhondda Cynon Taf had among the highest figures in the statistics, which showed there were 3,142 vacant homes in the local authority area, 1,244 of which have been empty for more than two years – more than any other of the 17 Welsh councils.