The risk of fraud is greater than ever and it is not just bank account fraud. Property fraud is on the increase. Since 2009 the Land Registry has succeeded in stopping fraudulent transactions worth more than £74 million. For the unfortunate victims of it there are devastating, time consuming and costly consequences. Steps can be taken to reduce the risks.
A property fraudster is most likely to assume your identity to sell or mortgage your property without your knowledge in order to obtain the mortgage funds or the sale proceeds. You are at the greatest risk of property fraud if you rent out a property, own empty property or live abroad. Property owned with no mortgage or where the owner’s relationship with the co-owner has broken down is also especially vulnerable.
There are several steps however that we can take on your behalf to help protect you and prevent this type of crime. Firstly, you must ensure that your property is registered at the Land Registry and we can apply for voluntary first registration if required. Secondly, you should put in place the protection available through the Land Registry. We detail below the two levels of protection available.
The Land Registry offer a free monitoring service called Property Alert which will notify you by email if there has been any activity in respect of your property. You will then be in a position to decide whether the activity is suspicious or not. For example, if a lender carries out a search on your property but you have not arranged for a mortgage you will be notified of this. However this service only provides a warning to you. It will not block applications relating to your property so we would strongly recommend you to take the next level of protection.
We can apply for a Land Registry “Restriction” on your property title which will prevent dealings with your property without a solicitor or conveyancer certifying that your identity has been verified. The Land Registry procedure will depend on whether or not you live at your property.
For further details on this please contact us or call 01229 580956 (Ulverston) or 015934 42255 (Windermere) to arrange an appointment.