How to protect your land or property from fraud
5 April 2018 by Paula Bland
Fraud is becoming ever more prevalent in our day to day lives. We are all aware that we should not disclose our PIN, passwords etc. and the need to protect our identity but have you thought about protecting the most expensive purchase you are ever likely to make – your property? The fraud may not come to light until you come to sell the property or find that your credit rating has been damaged.
You are more at risk if:
- Your identity has been stolen.
- You rent out the property.
- You live overseas.
- The property is empty.
- You own the property mortgage free.
- The property is not registered with HM Land Registry.
Your property will be registered if you have bought or taken out a mortgage since 1998. HM Land Registry records your correspondence address so it is important to keep this up to date especially if you are not living at the property. If your property is unregistered speak to a member of our Conveyancing Team about first registration of the title.
Anyone who owns a property that is registered with HM Land Registry can sign up for property alerts. This is a free tool offered by HM Land Registry and allows you to track changes to the register e.g. if someone tries to use your property for a mortgage. While this service will not automatically block any changes to the register, once you have signed up to the service you will receive email alerts when certain activity occurs on your monitored properties, allowing you to take action if necessary.
A further point, should you fall victim to this crime and the property is not registered with the HM Land Registry, it will be very difficult to claim any compensation.
You do not have to be confident with using the internet, or use the internet at all, to benefit from this service. If you are not online you can telephone the Land Registry’s Property Alert team on 0300 006 0478.
There is also the option to put a restriction on the title to your property. This will prevent HM Land Registry registering a sale or a mortgage on your property unless a solicitor or conveyancer certifies that the application was made by you.
There are a number of forms which need to be completed for the HM Land Registry, please get in touch and we will be happy to talk these through. Call 01206 704043 or email [email protected]