Sophie Haskins of AMD Solicitors outlines some ways you can protect yourself from property fraud.
Property owners should be alert to the fact that property fraud is on the rise. Indeed the Land Registry’s property fraud line has received nearly 3,000 calls and emails since its launch in February 2013. We are hearing more and more in the news of fraudsters trying to impersonate registered owners of property in order to sell or mortgage it without the owner’s knowledge.
The properties most at risk of property fraud include:-
- those without a mortgage
- empty property
- buy to lets
- unregistered property
Therefore, if you or a family member are a buy-to-let landlord, have an empty property or are in long-term care, then it is advisable that steps are taken to reduce the risk of falling a victim to property fraud.
If your property is not registered with the Land Registry, you should consider making an application for voluntary first registration.
If you are unsure whether your property is registered or would like to discuss making a voluntary application for first registration then one of our experienced property team will be able to assist you.
If you have a property which you rent out or have a second home, you should consider registering a restriction against the title deeds. The restriction will make it more difficult for a fraudster to sell or mortgage the property without your knowledge.
Although it is not a legal requirement to appoint a solicitor to register such a restriction, using a member of our Property team means that you will have the benefit of our specialist knowledge and experience to ensure that the restriction is registered with ease.
Property Alert Service
The Land Registry provides a free property alert service, which enables home owners to get property alerts if someone applies to change the register of their property. More information about this service can be found on the Land Registry’s website.
You should also ensure that the Land Registry holds up to date contact details for you in case they ever need to write to you.
If you would like any advice or assistance with protecting your property or any other conveyancing matter, then get in touch. Please call our property solicitors in Bristol on 0117 973 5647 or 0117 974 4100, e-mail us or call into any one of our four Bristol based offices.