Property fraud is on the increase as fraudsters are using sophisticated tactics and targeting properties by pretending to be you so that they can try and sell or mortgage your property and pocket the proceeds.
Your property is likely to be the most valuable asset you own and it is important therefore to protect it against the risk of fraud.
The Land Registry advise that you are more at risk in the following circumstances:
- your identity has been stolen
- your property is rented out
- you live overseas
- your property is empty
- your property is mortgage free
- your property is unregistered If your property is not currently registered with the Land Registry, you are able to apply for title to the property to be registered voluntarily. The Land Registry charge a discounted fee for voluntary registrations and our Conveyancing Team at MBH will be able to assist you with this – please telephone us for a quotation. The Land Registry also offers a Property Alert Service which is completely free of charge. Since September 2009, HM Land Registry has prevented 254 fraudulent applications being registered, representing properties valued in excess of £117m – please click on the following link to sign up to the Land Registry’s Property Alert Service:-With the Alert Service you can:
- Once your property is registered, it is advisable to keep your contact details up to date and this can include providing an email address or an address abroad. This is particularly important for properties which you do not live in.
- Your property should be registered if you bought it or mortgaged it from 1998 however, if you are unsure, the Land Registry will be able to confirm whether or not your property is registered with them. If your property is registered at the Land Registry and you are a victim of property fraud where you suffer financial loss, you will be compensated through the Land Registry indemnity scheme.
- monitor a property (provided it is registered with HM Land Registry)
- monitor the property of a relative; you don’t have to own a property to set up an alert
- choose up to 10 properties to monitor
You will receive email alerts when there is certain activity on the properties you are monitoring. If you receive an alert about an activity that seems suspicious you should take immediate action and follow the steps recommended by the Land Registry as quickly as possible. Not all alert emails will mean fraudulent activity. If you do not think that the alert email is regarding any suspicious activity, you do not need to do anything.
Another option, should you feel that your property is particularly at risk, is to apply for a restriction to be registered against the title to your property. The restriction will prevent the Land Registry registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyance / solicitor certifies that the application was made by you.
For further information or advice on protecting your property, please contact our Conveyancing Team at MBH by telephone on 01942 206060 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
www.wigansolicitors.com Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.
Written by Louise Jones, Commercial & Residential Conveyancing Executive