Introducing Estate Research to the Empty Homes Network

Estate Research are a firm of genealogists established in 2001 who have built a reputation assisting the public sector. We have a head office in Wigan and an office in London, employing over 50 staff with both local and international reach. Our company has evolved significantly over the years, meaning we provide a huge range of services, including empty property solutions. 

With the number of empty properties continuously on the rise, coupled with the current housing crisis, we understand that solving this issue has quickly become a priority for local authorities across the county. In 2020 alone, the number of long-term empty properties rose to 268,3850, which is a 19% increase compared to 2019. It’s clear that it is now more important than ever to bring as many of these properties back into use as soon as possible, and Estate Research have a proven track record of assisting local authorities do exactly that. 

We offer simple solutions in a number of scenarios, including: 

  • Identifying and tracing missing owners and putting them in touch with the local authority 
  • Tracing next of kin if a property owner has passed away, and assisting them with probate 
  • Checking for probate if you suspect a deceased property owner’s estate may have already been dealt with, in order for you to get in touch with the executor 
  • Offering professional and impartial advice to all parties involved

In addition to the above, we think it’s really important to facilitate communication between empty property owners and the local authority so that community needs can be met. In many instances, there may already be interest from local developers and other local initiatives who want to help bring properties back into social use. 

But we don’t just want you to take our word for it; here are just a few case studies where we have put our expertise into practice. 

Case Study 1 – Miss Cook

Miss Cook sadly passed away in hospital, leaving her home empty. The property soon came on the council’s radar following multiple reports of anti-social behaviour at the address, including the police being called to a break-in by a gang of youths. 

Neighbours were also concerned that Miss Cook’s garden was becoming extremely overgrown (given that she had been in hospital for a considerable amount of time before she passed away) and it was even reported that a tree was growing through the kitchen window. 

Although Miss Cook was estranged from her family, we were able to identify a niece as next of kin. We offered the niece our services including assistance with probate and with the help of one of our panel solicitors the estate has now been administered and the house has been sold and put back in to use. 

Case Study 2 – Mr Elliot

A local authority had been trying to trace the whereabouts of a Mr Elliot, the owner of a property in London which had been empty for at least 6 years. The property had been taken over by ‘squatters’ and there was strong evidence to suggest that the property was linked to criminal activity. 

Other than Mr Elliot’s name, approximate age and a couple of vague details from neighbour, very little information was known about him. The local authority even suspected that he may have passed away. 

After some extensive investigations and narrowing down numerous records, we were able to identify three people living in the UK who fit the profile of Mr Elliot. 

We then spoke to the possible candidates and determined which Mr Elliot we were looking for. He was able to confirm the full address of his property without being prompted and also provided some further information that we were able to cross reference to ensure we were on the right track. 

Mr Elliot was shocked to learn of the problems occurring at his property and was keen to be put in touch with the local authority. Shortly after, we received confirmation that Mr Elliot had taken steps to evict the current occupiers and the property was on track to being put back into use. 

Case Study 3 – Mr Morgan

Very recently we were asked by a local authority in London to trace the next of kin for a deceased gentleman, Mr Morgan. It then came to light that Mr Morgan owned a property in the North East. The property had been left abandoned for approximately nine years and had fallen into a state of disrepair. 

When searching various genealogical records, electoral rolls and land registry documents, we established that Mr Morgan had in fact been using a number of aliases.

After ordering a number of certificates in different places around the country – under various combinations of his seven different names – we finally established that Mr Morgan had been married and had an estranged son. 

We quickly got in touch with the son, who was really grateful to have some closure about his estranged father. He has now appointed one of our panel solicitors, who are in the process of securing and insuring the empty property until it is sold. 

If you would like any further information, please contact: megan@estateresearch.co.uk