Well, I'm afraid that was another disappointment. :(
I got there and I could only see a couple of bees hanging around. The boxes were a bit deteriorated and lids didn't fit properly. The grass was long and I couldn't see which side of the boxes had the opening. Apparently the hives have been there for quite some time. They belonged to the ex-boyfriend of the previous owners daughter and they had no contact details nor knowledge of his whereabouts.
Given I had no idea if the hives were nasty, I donned the gear and lit the smoker just in case. I gave the lids a quick puff or four. I heard nothing at all. Not a good sign. So I flipped the lids and both hives were a mess. 10 Framers fully framed in the bottom boxes but the supers just had a handfull in each. There was no intact comb in any of the frames and the only signs of life I saw was a harlequin beetle, a wax moth, some slaters and a few ants.
My recommendation to him was to just burn them.
Oh well, spring is only 4 short moths away! :) Swarms!