OVER 5,000 homes are currently unoccupied in Herefordshire, studies have found.

According to research based on the 2021 prospectus, around 5,375 properties in the county are uninhabited due to being empty, a holiday home or otherwise not consistently occupied. By this definition, the figure means that roughly five per cent of all residencies in the county are unoccupied.


This comes at a time when the region is in serious need of more housing according to Herefordshire Council, which has claimed that 16,500 new homes are needed across the county, of which 6,500 are required within Hereford City, 4,700 within the five market towns and 5,300 in rural settlements.


In 2022, the council’s cabinet agreed to make use of government proposals allowing councils to levy double council tax on properties vacant for between one and two years, as well as on second homes in the county.

The council said the option, which it could implement as early as this year, would enable it to raise around £12 million more in local taxation. It is not known whether this will still go ahead under the new administration.

Under its current empty property strategy, which comes to an end this year, the council says it is committed to tackling empty properties by adopting a proactive approach in supporting owners to help return their property to use.

It claims that empty properties are a wasted housing resource both for individual owners and the community, and that homes that are empty on a long-term basis can fall into a state of disrepair and become hazardous as well as having a negative environmental impact.

The council says it is adopting a co-ordinated and sustainable approach to tackling this issue in order to increase housing supply, improve standards and reduce the number of empty homes in Herefordshire.