Top tips on how to avoid property fraud
The risk of property fraud is on the increase and you’re more at risk if you rent out your property, live overseas, or if your property is empty or mortgage-free. In such circumstances, applications can be lodged to the Land Registry by fraudsters to register false transactions, which could change the ownership of your property without your knowledge.
It is, therefore, crucial that you take precautions to combat the fraudsters. Here are my top tips on how to protect yourself from property fraud:
· Keep your address for service at the Land Registry up-to-date
By keeping your service address up-to-date, if the Land Registry needs to write to you, they will write to the correct address and this will bring any suspicious activity to your attention and give you an opportunity to challenge applications made against your property, for example, adverse possession applications.
Beswicks Legal can update your service address by making an application directly to the Land Registry, confirming that sufficient steps to verify your identity have been made.
· Register a restriction on your legal title to the property
If your property is mortgage-free, you can protect against fraud further by registering a restriction on your legal title to the property. The restriction will be in your own favour and stop any transaction from being registered, without your own written consent. If your property is currently mortgaged this method may not have any real merit.
· Use the Land Registry’s online ‘Property Alert’ service
The Land Registry’s ‘Property Alert’ service allows users to monitor up to 10 properties at a time. The person monitoring the properties does not need to be the registered owner. The benefit of this service is that when official searches or applications are received by the Land Registry, you will automatically be issued with email alerts, allowing you to take swift action if the activity seems suspicious.
If you need any more information, help or advice on property fraud, please contact Simon Abbotts at Beswicks Legal on 01782 205000, or email email@example.com