How to protect against property fraud
20 June 2019
Fraud relating to property, where a property is sold or mortgaged without the registered owner's consent, is on the increase but some owners are more at risk and there are a number of simple steps you can take to reduce this risk.
You are more at risk if you do not live at the property (it may be empty or rented out), if the property is not mortgaged or if the property is not yet registered with the Land Registry.
The first step we would recommend everyone takes would be to ensure that your property deeds have been registered with the Land Registry. Please do get in touch if you are not sure if your title is registered and we would be happy to check for you. Once your title is registered, you can then ensure that the following protections are added to the title.
There are a number of restrictions which can be registered against the title which would ensure that you have some extra protection and these include:
- When the property is registered by a company, a restriction can be added to the title which means that the property cannot be transferred without a certificate signed by a solicitor to confirm that the person or persons signing on behalf of the company has or have the authority to do so and are who they say they are.
- When the owner does not live at the property, there is a similar restriction which can be registered which means that a solicitor must confirm that the person signing the transfer document is also the registered proprietor.
However, the property alert system provided by the Land Registry is probably one of the best protections and is a free service. Once you have set up an account, you can have up to 10 properties covered by this facility. Any application to the Land Registry will then automatically trigger an email to be sent to you with details of the application, including who has submitted the application.
The website for setting up the property alert is https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/
Please contact us if you would like any help or advice on protecting your home from fraud.