Can someone illegally sell our house?

There are occasionally stories in the press about properties which are illegally mortgaged or sold without the owner’s knowledge. This can be particularly relevant for investment properties or holiday homes which is occasionally used by the family, or let out to others, as they are not fully occupied.

Protecting your property from fraud

This is, of course, property fraud. It is increasing and it is a big concern especially to those owning a second home.

You can take steps to protect your property from being fraudulently sold or mortgaged.

Assuming that your holiday home is in England, the Land Registry offer a free protection service where any attempt to sell, mortgage or change ownership details will trigger a warning email to you. This can be set up on their website at landregistry.gov.uk.

You are more at risk if:

  • your identify has been stolen
  • you rent out your property
  • you live overseas
  • the property is empty
  • the property is not mortgaged
  • the property is not registered with HM Land Registry, which your conveyancer should do as part of your purchase transaction

Kym Gaisford, a Solicitor in our Conveyancing Team, says "Your property ought to be registered if you bought it or mortgaged it since 1998 – you can check the register if you are unsure. Also, you must tell HM Land Registry if any information in the register is incorrect, for example if you change your contact address. You can track changes to the register or put a restriction on your title if you think that you are at risk."

Track changes to the register

You can sign up to get property alerts if someone applies to change the register of your property, for example if someone tries to use your property for a mortgage.

This won’t automatically block any changes to the register but will alert you when something changes so that you can take action. You can get alerts for up to 10 properties and there is no fee.

Put a restriction on your title

You can stop HM Land Registry registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies the application was made by you.

If you’re a victim of property fraud

Contact HM Land Registry property fraud line if you think you’re the victim of property fraud.

Our Conveyancing Team and are happy to discuss any issues that this raises for you and we offer a free initial meeting or chat on the phone.

If you have any questions, you only have to ask us at Frettens. Please call 01202 499255 or 01425 610100 and Kym or a member of the team will be happy to chat about your situation and your particular requirements.