Administration of Estates

HM Treasury written question – answered on 15th November 2017.

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Photo of Jessica Morden Jessica Morden Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many properties have been subject to escheat under the Crown Estate in each of the last five years.

Photo of Jessica Morden Jessica Morden Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the (a) total and (b) average value of properties escheated to the Crown Estate has been in each of the last five years.

Photo of Jessica Morden Jessica Morden Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the average length of time is for properties to remain subject to escheat under the Crown Estate.

Photo of Jessica Morden Jessica Morden Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the amount of land covered by properties escheating to the Crown Estate.

Photo of Jessica Morden Jessica Morden Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many properties escheating to the Crown Estate were disposed of in each year since 2000.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones The Exchequer Secretary

It is not possible to identify the number of properties that have become subject to escheat over the last five years, as The Crown Estate is reliant upon third parties notifying it of the events which may lead to escheat. However, I can provide the below information on the number of properties notified to The Crown Estate as escheat and the number of properties sold in the given years. The figures for total number of properties sold between 2000 and 2006 are not immediately available.

Year

Total Number of Properties Notified to The Crown Estate

Total Number of Properties Sold

2007/8

220

50

2008/9

412

37

2009/10

410

37

2010/11

465

38

2011/12

577

38

2012/13

776

40

2013/14

1,060

33

2014/15

824

34

2015/16

708

21

2016/17

779

37

A wide range of properties can become subject to escheat, from a strip of land following road works to the assets of a lapsed property management company. More substantive properties represent a small proportion of all escheat properties. Properties usually become subject to escheat as they have been renounced, and they therefore tend to be low value or subject to liabilities.

The value of all properties which may be subject to escheat and which have been notified to The Crown Estate is not known, as no such valuation is undertaken.

The average length of time for properties to remain subject to escheat is not readily available. Only a small proportion of properties subject to escheat is sold, and it is possible for properties to remain subject to escheat indefinitely.

It is not possible to estimate the amount of land covered by escheat properties because (a) the exact number of properties which have become subject to escheat is not known and (b) The Crown Estate does not, in its constitutional role, make enquiries in relation to properties which are subject to escheat.

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