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Preventing Property Fraud

Prevention of property fraud

 

Property identify fraud is when a fraudster impersonates the true owner with the intention of mortgaging or selling the property.

 

The fraudster may attempt to steal your identity and attempt to acquire ownership of property.

 

What properties are vulnerable?

The most vulnerable properties are those without the owner in occupation, for example, properties that are empty or have tenants.

 

So if you are currently in a care home, own a buy-to-let property, or your home is empty for long periods for other reasons, then your property may be at risk.

 

What measures can be taken?

 

There are a number of measures that we recommend.

 

1) Registered property

Make sure that the title is registered at the Land Registry, has a unique title number, and that you are registered as the legal title owner.

 

Check that your contact details are correct.

 

You can supply up to three addresses and an email address.

 

If you are unsure if your property is registered ask a member of the Rutherfords property team.

 

2) Property Alert service

This is a free property monitoring service specifically created to help owners of registered properties detect property fraud.

 

Once you have signed up to the service, the Land Registry will email you each time there is significant activity that may result in a change to the register of a property you are monitoring. The email will signpost who to contact.

 

To register, you need a valid email address as well as the postcode or title number of the property that you want to monitor.

 

The Land Registry will allow you to monitor up to 10 registered properties in England and Wales. 

 

3) Land Registry restriction

The Land Registry has introduced a new form of restriction for the protection of absent owners.

 

By using Land Registry form RQ this restriction is noted on the title register.

 

It is designed to help prevent forgery by requiring a conveyancer or solicitor to certify that they are satisfied that the person transferring or mortgaging the property is the same person as the true owner.

 

Recommendations

Rutherfords LLP recommends that a client should contact our property department to obtain advice if you are not in occupation of the property and the property is:

 

  • Empty or likely to remain empty in future

  • Purchased as a buy-to-let investment.

     

    We recommend that a restriction is used if you are purchasing a buy-to-let property.

     

    If you have a buy-to-let property and are not sure if the restriction has been entered ask a member of our residential property team to do this for you, and if necessary, to register a restriction.

 

 

 

Tony Illsley LL.B

Partner and panel solicitor for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity and Free Wills Network

Amanda Edwards CILEx

Head of Residential Conveyancing Department

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