Enforcement on partially built properties

We have been contacted by a local resident about a neighbouring property which has been partially built for the last 10 years. The resident lives next door and is complaining about rats/ insecurity of the site and it being unsightly. He is requesting the council uses its EDMO /CPO powers as, despite an ongoing dialogue between the developer and other residents, they have failed to reach a satisfactory conclusion. The developer has built other properties in the immediate area.

Planning & Building Control have no powers to take any action. Environmental Health have visited, noted that it is nearly complete but have no concerns. No one seems to have powers to enforce completion. I have advised the resident that I cannot act as this is not technically an empty property as has never been occupied, therefore a CPO/EDMO is not appropriate.

Has anyone come across this scenario? Any advice gratefully received.

Many thanks


Other enforcement

We can deal with empty HOMES because of the wealth of property law relating to dwellings. We can do less with empty commercial becuase of the alck of statutes.


With this case, the question is whether any powers used by empty homes officers realting to housing can be applied to an incomplete dwelling or dwellings?

Without scouring statutes to look at each definition of dwelling, I don't know if we can use any particulr power.


But the property, incomplete though it may be, has an intended use as a dwelling. It is a substantial structure intended for use as a dwelling. I'd be investigating the meanings of 'dwelling' with my property lawyers to find the right fit.


Let's have more answers from our membership before Mr. Lavender gets his answer in.

Nick P-G
Reading BC

In a similar scenario I used Section 215 Town & Country Planning Act 1990. Be mindful of an appeal under Section 217 (1) (b) - I took the view that leaving the property unfinished for so long was not, "...in the ordinary course of events."

Agree on a S215 but we did use a EDMO process and served the interim notice and it did the trick. We were prepared to go to the RPT if needed, after all it costs nothing but officer time.

We were convinced the EDMO legislation was somewhat silent on half built domestic properties, and in fact we are going down the route for another one, albiet somewhat more finished but not.



Hi Sheena

We have dealt with such sites and our strategy was to threaten the use of the above which is the termination of planning permission by reference to time limit: completion notices and section 215 (considering the Berg v Salford Case) also. However, I must stress you will need the support of the Planning Officers. Section 94 can be used when the Local Planning Authority does not belive that the development will be completed in a reasonable time period. The threat is obvious and the owner(s) really do not like it. We then suggested that we would also consider CPO if the site was left empty either by virtue of Section 266 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 the compulsory acquisition of land for development and other planning issues.  Of course CPO could be used by virtue of the Housing Act 1985 to compulsorilty acquire land, houses or other properties for the provision of housing accomodation (housing purposes) - if you consider it appropriate as per the ODPM Circular CPO and the Critchel Down Rules.

So far we have had 100% success.

If you would like to discuss further please let me know and I will be happy to do so.



I'm currently working on S.215 on a pair of partially built (but untouched for years) semi detached properties, so agree with the other posts. Planners are in agreement with this action - happy to update as this case progresses.

Neil Dunk


Like Darryl I served notice of a potential EDMO on a pair of partially complete semis. The owner was refusing to complete until we gave him permission to develop additional land - which was never going to gain permssion to be developed. This did the trick but if not I would also have considered CPO.

S17 relates to the quantitative or qualitative gain of housing therefore my argument would be to demonstrate housing need in that area and the necessity to ensure completion of the dwelling to meet that need. Even vacant agricultural land can be subject to CPO powers for housing development if the authority can demonstrate need and that it is in the public interest (my great aunty's small paddock was acquired in the 1980s for a sheltered bungalow scheme). I personally see a partially complete property as a step up from this in terms of providing a sound statement of reasons to the SofS, as there should be no planning impediments.

Also, at my previous authority, the council tax team served completion notices on a number of partially complete dwellings that had been left in that state for over 5 years. Suddenly being liable for Council Tax may prompt the owner too.

Hope that helps

Sue Li

Derby City Council


Sue Li

Compulsory Purchase and Enforcement Officer

Derby City Council