If you own an unoccupied property you might find the local council seeking to take it over so that it can be let out.  They cannot take away your legal ownership but they could take possession; and land you with a bill.

Empty Dwellings Management Orders (EDMOs) were introduced to encourage owners to put their unoccupied property on the market, either as a let property or a sale.   The first you will probably know of the process is that the council will ask you for details of any plans (including renovation)you have to bring the unoccupied property into use.  If you are pursuing plans to do this, the matter will not go any further.  If not, the council can apply to the Residential Property Tribunal for an EDMO.  The order allows the council to manage the house, possibly recovering its expenses from you.

EDMOs do not apply to all empty properties.  For example, the following are exempt:

  • Those empty for less than six months
  • Holiday homes and second homes
  • Houses being sold
  • Properties going through probate.

If you own an unoccupied property that has been empty for some time you will find useful information on: www.communities.gov.uk

You will also need good insurance cover.  Some policies are not suitable unoccupied property so make sure you have specialist unoccupied property insurance cover.