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Bona vacantia (ownerless) property

The Treasury Legal Team advises the Secretary to the Treasury on requests for the Crown to deal with bona vacantia property.

Sometimes property becomes automatically owned by the Crown because it has no other owner. When this happens, the property is called “ownerless property” (also known by its legal name, bona vacantia). Any kind of property can become “ownerless property”: not just physical property like land or money, but also intangible things like mortgages, easements, leases, resource consents or intellectual property.

Although the Crown becomes the owner of “ownerless property” by default, anyone can apply to the Treasury Legal Team to ask the Crown to do something with the property (for example, by transferring it to someone who should be the owner instead).

Frequently asked questions

This webpage sets out the key information about this service. Please read on for more detail on how to deal with property of a company removed from the Companies Register, standard requirements for applications about “ownerless property”, and notices of vesting. If you have any specific questions not covered, please email [email protected].

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Last updated: 
Wednesday, 8 February 2023