The number of long-term empty homes in Dacorum rose by more than a third last year, according to new government statistics.
In 2017 there were 390 privately-owned properties that sat unoccupied for six months or longer.
But by 2018 that figure had rocketed to 522. Only 23 other local authorities in England had a bigger increase than Dacorum’s 34 per cent rise.
Opposition councillor Ron Tindall said the figures showed how little influence Dacorum Borough Council had in tackling this issue.
He said: “The only recourse that the council has is to apply double council tax after two years.
“Officers do chase empbut increasingly it’s ordinary three-bedroom family homes and terraced houses.
“That’s partly down to Brexit, and no-one being sure what will happen with the market.
“But there’s more and more homes that people have inherited and can’t afford to repair or do up for sale. A government programme to help people do just that was closed in 2015, yet these are exactly the kind of properties that people want.
“It just needs that little bit of government support but now that’s gone.
“Governments think that they can build their way out of our housing crisis. These figures show the problems with their thinking.”
There are more than 216,000 long-term empty homes in England.
Dacorum Borough Council declined to comment.