Manage ownerless Microsoft 365 groups and teams

A team in Microsoft Teams or a Microsoft 365 group and its related services can become ownerless if an owner's account is deleted in Microsoft 365. Groups and teams require an owner to add or remove members and change group settings.

A Global Administrator, Exchange Administrator, or Groups Administrator can create a policy that automatically asks the most active members of an ownerless group or team if they'll accept ownership. When a member accepts the invitation to become an owner, the action is logged in the compliance portal audit log. Guests are never invited to be owners.

When creating the policy, you can specify:

  • If you want to limit who can be invited to be an owner by specifying a security group
  • The sender address of the notifications
  • The number of weeks that the notifications will be sent
  • Which groups or teams are part of the policy. A maximum of 50 groups can be selected.


Using a security group to limit who can be invited to be an owner requires that you possess but not necessarily assign a Microsoft Entra ID P1 or P2 license for each Microsoft 365 group member in your organization.

To set an ownerless group or team policy

  1. In the admin center, go to Show all > Settings > Org settings and on the Services tab, select Microsoft 365 Groups.

  2. Select the When there's no owner, email and ask active group members to become an owner check box.

  3. If you want to keep the default configuration settings, select Save, otherwise, select Configure policy and complete the following steps.

  4. On the Weekly notification options page, specify who can receive ownership notifications. If you choose to allow or block certain members, then search for and add the security group that you want to use.

  5. Type the number of active members that you want to notify and select the number of weeks to send the notification. (The notification list is created during the first notification and does not change.) Select Next.

  6. On the Who is this email coming from page, select a sender for the email, and then select Next. Note that shared mailboxes are not supported. The sender must be either a user mailbox or a group mailbox.

  7. On the Subject and message page, customize the email and optionally include a policy guideline URL, and then select Next.

  8. On the Select which groups to target page, select Specific groups and choose the groups and teams that you want to include in this policy, or select All groups.

  9. Select Next.

  10. On the Review and finish page, confirm your settings and click Finish, and then select Done.

Notifications are sent weekly starting within 24 hours of policy creation. Recipients can't forward the notifications to others. Notifications and responses are tracked in the audit log.

Up to two group members per group can accept the invitation to become an owner. If no group members accept, an administrator will have to assign a group owner.

Ownerless group FAQ

Search the audit log in the compliance portal