Plans to charge double council tax for properties left empty for more than five years are being considered in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Under proposals being considered by the council, homes which have been left abandoned for more than five years would see a 100 per cent premium and those empty for between one and five years would be charged an extra 50 per cent on their council tax bills.

But the council says it is not looking at charging a premium for second homes in the region, of which there are currently 227.

Cabinet approved holding a consultation with residents and property owners on the proposal at its meeting on Thursday, November 21.

Despite scrapping the 50 per cent council tax discount in April 2018, there are still more than 2,000 long-term empty properties across RCT.

The council hopes that the prospect of paying a premium on the council tax bill may encourage more property owners to bring their empty homes back into use sooner, and that it will earn it about £1m a year.

Councillor Mark Norris, cabinet member for corporate services, said he hoped the approach would increase the number of empty properties being brought back into use.

He said: “The work we are doing currently is quite successful. This is another string to our bow.”

Cllr Andrew Morgan, the leader of the council, said there was “no excuse” for properties to be left empty.

He said: “I absolutely think premiums on empty properties is the way forward.”

Cllr Maureen Webber, the deputy leader, said: “We are losing money by these properties remaining empty.”

Cllr Robert Bevan, the cabinet member for housing, said 40 per cent of the more than 2,000 empty properties in RCT are owned by people living outside the area so they effectively have “absent landlords”.

On the issue of second homes, he pointed to the issue of holiday homes in north Wales and said: “We need to be mindful as we progress particular as tourism grows that this is a problem that is coming down the line.”

After the consultation the proposal will go before full council at some point in the new year for a decision.

If full council eventually approves the proposal, it would come into force from October 1, 2020 as no time before April 1, 2016 is taken into account when looking at how long a property has been empty.

Of the 2,275 long-term empty homes in RCT, 1,126 have been empty for between one and five years and 662 for more than five years.

Just 210 have been empty for up to six months and 277 have been empty for between seven months and a year.

Pontypridd has the highest number of long-term empty properties at 251, with Rhigos, Penywaun and Llanharry having the joint fewest with nine.

Council tax data shows that 40 per cent of long-term empty properties in RCT are owned by people who live outside RCT and 38 per cent of RCT’s second homes are owned by people who don’t live there.