Empty Homes Policy

The Empty Homes Context in Welwyn Hatfield Borough

6.1 The situation with empty homes is never static as homes are brought back into use and other homes become empty or remain empty for longer periods of time. Government empty homes data released in November 2021 showed that in England there were 237,340 homes registered as long-term empty. This was a decrease of over 31,000 from the previous year which had also seen the first rise in the number of empty homes since 2016. 

6.2 At the current time (December 2023), in Welwyn Hatfield there are:

• 1089 empty private sector homes of which; 

• 288 are empty but furnished (2nd homes) 

• 360 have been empty/unoccupied for up to 3 months

• 299 dwellings have been empty for between 6 months and 2 years 

• 133 have been long term empty for 2 years or more

• 9 are uninhabitable

6.3 In addition, there are empty properties that are not targeted for action to be brought back into use. Those owned by the Ministry of Defence and the Crown are exempt under legislation and derelict properties that have been removed from the Valuation Office residential list and are no longer a dwelling (however other enforcement action may be taken on these if dangerous, infested etc). The majority of empty homes that have been empty for 6 months or less come back into use within that period of time due to the normal operation of the housing market so are not a priority under this policy for the Council. The Council focuses on properties that are long term empty of 2 years or more which are not likely to come back into use without support. With the use of this policy, we aim to successfully reduce the levels of 2 year plus long-term empty properties.