A derelict house could be bought by Falkirk Council using a compulsory purchase order because neighbours have complained.
They say the detached bungalow in an up-market area of Bonnybridge has been allowed to become a blot on the landscape and is having a detrimental impact on the area.
They have been demanding something be done for years.
Now councillors have agreed to start legal proceedings to acquire the property.
They then intend to sell it on.
The three-bedroomed house at 8 Bonnyfield Road has lain empty since its owner died in 2003.
Efforts by the council’s environmental health department, Sheriff Officers and the Crown Office to trace the deceased’s daughter who, as next of kin, should inherit his estate have drawn a blank.
Over the years the search has taken them to Gateshead, North Shields, Inverness and Midlothian.
But now the trail has effectively “gone cold”.
The council’s policy and resources committee was told on Tuesday that the property has effectively been abandoned.
While it is boarded up and secure and does not represent any immediate danger to the public the house and gardens have fallen into such a state of disrepair its condition has become a source of local concern and council enforcement officers admit it poses a public health nuisance.
The council will need approval from the Scottish Government before taking action under the 1987 Housing (Scotland) Act.
Councillors, who discussed the issue in private, were told if the compulsory purchase order is not challenged the house will come under council ownership but will not be made available for housing council tenants.
In his report to the committee, Stuart Ritchie, the council’s director of corporate and neighbourhood services, said: “Considering the type of property and owner occupier nature of the location, together with the costs of bringing it into a habitable condition, it is felt it would be best to place it for sale on the open market.
“It is a desirable property in a sought after area and a number of enquiries as to its status have been received from members of the public.
“Any prospective private purchaser would have a more immediate incentive to renovate the property and bring it back into use as a family home.”
The compulsory purchase procedure could take up to a year. The council will meet the costs of the operation, advertising the property for sale and completing its transfer to a new owner. The proceeds will be set aside and then paid as compensation to any party with a verifiable right to claim on the estate.