The Land Registry has made it their mission to combat property fraud; incorporating their efforts into “scams awareness month” launched this July by the Citizens Advice and Trading Standards Services. The Land Registry has made multiple efforts including the launch of a helpline (0300 006 7030, Monday – Friday, 8:30am to 5pm) and a free property monitoring email alert system which lets you monitor, not only your own property, but the property of loved ones too.
Further to taking these steps, The Land Registry has distributed to their business customers leaflets, free of charge, to pass on to their clients which detail the ways to avoid becoming a victim of property fraud.
With all types of fraud on the rise it’s important you know when you’re at risk. According to the land registry you’re more at risk if your property is:
- Mortgage free
- Rented out
So what can you do to protect yourself from property fraud?
The Land Registry’s property email alerts allow you to track up to 10 properties at a time. They’ll alert you by email when there’s any activity; for example a change of title or a mortgage attached to the title. If it’s something you weren’t expecting then you can act quickly to resolve the matter. You can sign up for property alerts here.
Make sure your property is registered:
This means that you can be compensated if you suffer financial loss as a result of property fraud. Most properties in England and Wales are already on the Land Registry, however, if it hasn’t been mortgaged or bought/sold since 1990 it may not be. You can search the land registry and find out here (there is fee of £3).
Make sure that you keep your contact details up to date to ensure that any alerts reach you. If your contact details have changed you may not be made aware about any fraudulent activity until it’s too late.
Apply for a restriction:
You can apply for a restriction which will stop certain activity on your property and therefore protect it from fraudsters. A restriction will prevent things such as transfer of mortgage unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies that the application has come from you.
If you would like to know more about how to protect your property from property fraud or you’d like help with any other legal issues relating to your property contact our expert property solicitors today.