The Rise of Property Fraud – How Can Home Owners Protect Themselves?
During the last few years, the real estate sector has seen a rise in property fraud. Property is usually the most valuable asset people own and it is a clear target for fraudsters who could attempt to sell or mortgage a home. The rise of fraud has mostly been down to identity theft with devastating effects.
- You rent out your property
- You live overseas
- Your property is left empty for long periods
- Your property isn’t mortgaged
- Your property is not registered
In order to protect your property from being fraudulently sold or mortgaged, the following steps should be taken, even if you do not fall within the above risks.
Land Registry alerts
Homeowners can sign up to get property alerts from the Land Registry if an application is received to change the register, this would include changing the registered owners and if a mortgage is to be registered against the property.
Whilst the alert will not automatically block any changes to the register, it will provide the property owner the opportunity to take action and contact the Land Registry property fraud line if the application is fraudulent.
Property alerts are a free service and you can sign up to alerts for up to 10 properties. It is important that contact details are kept up to do otherwise the alert will be rendered useless.
Enter a restriction on your title
A restriction on your title can be entered to stop the Land Registry registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyance or solicitor certifies that that application was made by the property owner.
There is a fee for this service if you do live in the property you wish to protect and the fee is currently £40.00.