Property fraud is surprisingly quite common, with the Land Registry reporting that 71% of fraud was property fraud in 2018.
What is property fraud?
Property fraud is where someone pretends to be you, in order to sell or mortgage your property.
It’s important to be aware of the risk of property fraud, and to ensure that you are as protected as you can be from it. The purpose of this article is to ensure this.
Am I at risk of property fraud?
You may be more at risk of property fraud if:
- You have had your identity stolen
- You rent out your property
- The property you own is empty (for short or long periods of time)
- The property you own does not have a mortgage
- The property isn’t registered with HM Land Registry
How can I protect my house from fraud?
Identity fraud is surprisingly common. One way of protecting yourself from this is to make sure that you have access to your credit history and rating so that you can monitor soft and hard searches of your credit history. There are many companies that now offer this for free.
You should also make sure that your address for service is up to date. This is the address that the Land registry will use to contact you. If you own a property but don’t live there, make sure that you have the address of where you live.
You can have more than one address which can include an email address and overseas address if necessary.
Below I’ve outlined some more ways in which you can protect your property from potential fraud.
Register your property with HM Land Registry
Make sure your property is registered, if not; then do so! This will ensure compensation if you lose money as a result of being a victim of property fraud.
Most properties in the UK are registered. Properties that haven’t changed owner since the 1990s may not be. You can check if your property is registered using this Gov UK service.
Put a restriction on your title
If you apply for a restriction, you can stop activity occurring on your property (such as a mortgage).
Below are the request forms which should be filled out, depending on your circumstances:
How can I monitor changes to the register of my property?
You can sign up to get property alerts from the government.
This will notify you if there are any changes to the register of your property, for example – someone trying to use your property for mortgage.
Sign up to the property alert service here.
What can I do if I am a victim of property fraud?
If you’re a victim of property fraud or notice some suspicious activity regarding the register of your property, contact the HM Land Registry fraud team immediately.
Here are the contact details:
Telephone: 0300 006 7030
Please be aware of potential call charges.
Residential and Commercial Property
If you have any queries following this article, or just want to speak to an expert, pleas get in touch with one of our bright lawyers.
We offer a free initial chat for all new clients with no obligation. You can speak with someone, to discuss your individual circumstances, here.