To ask Her Majesty's Government on how many occasions in the past three years local authorities in England have exercised their powers (1) to requisition, and (2) to purchase compulsorily, houses or flats that have been unoccupied for long periods; and whether they will issue new guidance for areas of great housing need.
7 July 2022
The Government is keen for local authorities to bring back more empty homes into productive use. In Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill which is currently before Parliament we are improving the process for making and confirming compulsory purchase orders so local authorities have more confidence in using these powers.
Local authorities can exercise their powers to take over the management of long-term empty homes (through Empty Dwelling Management Orders) in certain circumstances in order to bring them back into use in the private rented sector. The department does not collect data on the number of such orders made.
Local authorities can also use their housing compulsory purchase powers under the Housing Act 1985 to deal with empty homes. In the last 3 years, 118 compulsory purchase orders under these enabling powers have been submitted to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for confirmation. There are also other enabling powers that compulsory purchase orders can be made under that could involve empty homes. No further detailed breakdown is available.