Probate Not Granted...

Hi Nick,

are you able to expand on how you are able to bring empty homes back in to use whereby probate has not been granted? We have a few cases where owners passed away over 8 years ago but family members have not yet applied for probate. Can we take action despite no probate?

Many thanks


miscellaneous issues


I expect that there is an answer out there but the following is a situation that is causing Rotherham Council to scratch it's head.

We have a situation where the owner of a property died in 2014 and he left no will. We believe that there is a daughter of the deceased property owner but we have no contact details for her and she has not come forward when letters have been sent to the property. The neighbour has access to and maintains the property and indicates that he was 'promised' the property in the deceased owners will!

As probate has not been obtained the Council cannot recover any Council Tax for the empty property nor consider any options for supporting the Council Tax payee to identify other options for bringing the property back into use. 

Does anyone have any similar experiences to the above scenario and can they offer any comments to deal with an empty property, which is not causing a nuisance, but will continue to be empty because there is no identified owner?

Many thanks in anticipation of a response.


Private Sector Housing Co-ordinator

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Have you tried contacting an heir hunter company. We have experience of similar situations here in Oxford and use heir hunter firms.They may be able to track down a relative.

Mel Mutch 

Oxford City Council


Referring empty homes (or any intestacy or tracing) cases to a sole heir hunter or tracing agent lands councils with legal, ethical  and reputational risks - (a) of  excessive fees extracted from relatives entitled to the estate because a monopoly has been created (and it can be tens or even hundreds of £000) or (b) the wrong family being found (or beneficiaries being missed out) where no-one will ever check the genealogy as the intestacy has not been made public (most are openly advertised for checking- which springs from government advice). See my article on this point please:

Solution - the panel of three accredited genealogists - quickest and most ethical outcomes guaranteed

Please note that I am an experienced solicitor who has worked with and for local authorities  for over  25 years and who has forrmally served local authorities on standards work for well over a decade. Thanks for reading.

Hi, Mel.

Thanks for the response and as a result of my post I have been contacted by a company who may be able to help.