Empty Homes – What to Do If Inheritance is an Issue

Finders International founder Daniel Curran featured in the Mirror recently, following a
review paper that looked at the number of empty properties in England.

According to the Mirror Money piece, the value of the properties left empty adds up to £132
billion. There are some 600,179 empty homes in England – with 203,596 of them classed as
long-term empty – and more than 59,000 of them in London alone.

The region with the highest percentage of vacant properties is the North East of England
where there are 3.4 percent of total stock empty (40,784 properties).

Back to Use
Specific money was made available for bringing empty houses back into use – £156 million
that was allocated between 2012 and 2015.

A Commons Library briefing paper on empty homes in England points out that high levels of
empty properties have a serious impact on the viability of communities. They can increase
incidents of vandalism, and together with derelict shops in an area they add to a sense of

Local authority strategies that deal with empty homes have several benefits – a strategy can
help the authority meet its housing needs, regenerate blighted areas, increase Council Tax
collection rate and improve housing conditions.

Lack of a Will
One of the issues behind the number of homes sitting empty is the lack of a will or where it
is not clear or not stated who should inherit the property.

Speaking to the Mirror about the problem, our MD, Daniel Curran gave advice about
what you should do if there is a problem with property being passed on following someone’s

Firstly, you should contact a trustworthy company that can arrange empty home insurance
for the house to help protect it against damage, vandalism and squatters. Probate property
services companies can arrange this kind of insurance.

Ask Neighbours’ Help
Tell the neighbours what you are doing and ask them to keep an eye on the property.
Speaking to the neighbours will also help reassure them that the situation is in hand and
they don’t need to worry about the property becoming derelict or empty for the long term.

Let the local authority know that the property is empty – as this might entitle you to a
rebate on council tax.

Put a notice on the letter box, window or front door that directs all enquiries to whatever
probate property services company you have appointed.

Make sure the property is cleared of all rubbish. Any valuables should be listed in a
photographic inventory. A probate property service company may be able to give you a
package deal that includes rubbish clearance, insurance and a re-sale of the home.