A plan is being put forward to Herefordshire Council’s cabinet which hopes to make a dent in the county’s forecast budget shortfalls, as well as freeing up local properties for local use.

But what is the current rate of council tax for empty properties? Rates around long-term empty properties were most recently changed April 1, 2021 and are in effect today.

There is a 100 percent premium for vacant properties of two years or more. The premium increases to 200 percent for a long term empty property exceeds five years. Where a long term empty exceeds 10 years the premium increases to 300 percent from April 2021.

Herefordshire Council have explained the purpose of the premiums, they said: “Empty homes can attract anti-social behaviour or vandalism and the implementation of this change is to encourage owners to bring properties back into occupation to minimise these risks.

“As the intention is to bring these properties back into occupation rather than generating additional income, the funding from premium charges will be utilised to provide resource to deliver guidance, support and signposting to aid the reduction in empty properties in Herefordshire.”

Previously there were exemptions for unoccupied and unfurnished properties and properties requiring major repair work to make them habitable but were removed and replaced by a 25 percent discount, which as since been abolished.