Property is usually our most valuable asset so it is important to protect it from an ever-increasing risk of fraud. Surprisingly perhaps, fraudulent transfers of property occur regularly. Since September 2009, HM Land Registry has prevented 254 fraudulent applications being registered, representing properties valued in excess of £117m.
Your property will be registered if it was bought or mortgaged after 1998 – you can search for property information from HM Land Registry.
Property fraud takes place when fraudsters try to ‘steal’ a property, most commonly by stealing the homeowner’s identity and selling or mortgaging the property without the owners’ knowledge. The fraudsters then disappear with any capital gain leaving the genuine owner to deal with the unfortunate consequences.
You are more at risk of property fraud if:
- your property is empty
- your property is rented out
- your property is mortgage-free
- your property is not registered with HM Land Registry
- your identity has been stolen
- you live overseas
Property Alert monitoring service
A free property monitoring service from the Land Registry is now available. Property Alert is an award-winning service aimed at anyone who feels a registered property could be at risk from fraud. The service helps people to detect fraudulent activity on their property by sending email alerts when there is certain activity on the property being monitored, such as a mortgage being taken out against it. The recipient can then decide whether they think the activity is suspicious and take appropriate action as necessary. The alert email tells them who to contact should they be concerned.
HM Land Registry is proactively trying to detect and prevent fraud but no system can be 100 per cent fraud-proof, which is why we recommend property owners take advice and protect themselves from property fraud by signing up to the HM Land Registry monitoring service.
For more information or advice on the topics above, please don’t hesitate to contact us…