Neighbourhood watch: Is there a derelict property near you?

If you’re a member of your local Neighbourhood Watch group, it is likely you have a thorough knowledge of the buildings in your area. Do any of the streets you keep an eye on have a derelict property?

Oftentimes, properties in this country fall into disrepair because there has been a change in ownership. Or rather, that the owner has died, and no-one has been able to locate the new owner because that person didn’t leave a Will and appears to have had no next of kin.

This is rarely the case. According to the rules of intestacy, if someone dies without leaving a valid Will, then there is an order to who is legally entitled to inherit. It starts with their parents (if there are no children) and would then move to brothers and sisters, and their descendants if those siblings are also deceased.

Property eventually passes to the Crown

Should the original property owner turn out not to have had brothers and sisters, then the parents’ siblings and their descendants are the next branch of the family tree to be examined. If no-one can be traced, then the property passes to the Crown—but this is only after years.

Most of the time, a legitimate heir can be found—even if that person only knew the deceased slightly or in some cases, not at all. As the experts in tracing unknown or missing next of kin, we’ve seen that scenario play out countless times—we contact someone to tell them they are the potential heir to an estate and the reaction is astonishment.

Empty, derelict properties are an eyesore. They often attract squatters, vandals and worse. Despite this, however bad the building might look, it still has value and if the rightful owners can be traced, then they might do something with it—tidy it up to put it back on the housing market, for example.

Housing demand high in the UK

Housing demand in the UK far outpaces supply. The return of just one house to the housing market can help in a small way.

If you are a member of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in your area and there is a derelict property on your patch, why not call us on +44 (0)20 7490 4935 or freephone (UK only) 0800 085 8796 to find out how we can help? You can also email us at: [email protected]

Finders International can help manage a property for the estate administrator or client saving considerable time, effort and expense with their Property Sales and Services. To see other services we offer then please visit our website.