In an effort to bring empty homes back into use, Watford Borough Council has agreed to double the amount of council tax it charges landlords.

It’s no secret that Watford has empty properties across the town and members of the public have openly voiced concerns that they remain unfilled – especially when they see new homes being built.

However, the council is determined to entice the owners of empty homes into bringing them into use again by charging a 100 per cent premium from next month.

One view which was suggested in a full council meeting last night is that these owners are waiting around for the value of a property to increase.

The changes were agreed by council cabinet members last month and unanimously agreed at a full council meeting on Tuesday.

The Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “Watford doesn’t have as many empty homes as other areas but we are still determined to take this very issue seriously. Leaving properties empty for years is something we want to discourage.

“We are using the powers we have to encourage people to do the right thing and bring empty properties back into use, so that there are more homes available.”

Since 2013, councils have only had powers to charge a 50 per cent premium.

From April 2020, the council tax premium will be doubled again to 200 per cent for properties which have been empty for more than five years, while from April 2021, the council will charge a premium of 300 per cent on homes which have been out of use for more than ten years.