Property is a high value asset – your property is probably the most valuable asset that you own. Because of its high value it is an attractive target to fraudsters, therefore it is important to protect it from this ever-increasing risk of property fraud.

What is property fraud?

Typical property fraud involves a fraudster impersonating the registered owner of a property and attempting to sell or mortgage the property before disappearing without trace with their financial gain, leaving the legal owner without a property and with the debt.

Who is at risk from property fraud?

Anyone who owns a home is at risk of property fraud, but there are certain properties that have a much higher risk and are more vulnerable to property fraud, for example:

  • If the property is not registered at the Land Registry
  • If the property is a buy to let property
  • If the property is empty
  • If the property is mortgage-free
  • If the registered owner’s address details are not kept up to date

How can I protect my property from fraud?

There are steps that you can take to protect your property from fraud.

The Land Registry offer a Property Alert service which you can sign up to for free. The Land Registry will notify you of any applications that they receive for the property that you are monitoring.

You should make sure that your contact details are kept up to date so that the Land Registry are able to contact you where necessary. If your details are not up to date, you may not receive correspondence from the Land Registry that might relate to a proposed application, or, in the case of empty properties for example, that correspondence could be intercepted and actioned by fraudsters.

You can ensure that your property is registered at the Land Registry. If your property is not registered, we can assist in making an application to the Land Registry for the first registration of your property.

You could apply for a restriction to be placed on the title register of the property, to prevent the Land Registry from registering certain applications such as a transfer or mortgage, unless a certificate is provided by a conveyancer to certify that the application was indeed made by you. We can assist with making the necessary application to the Land Registry to have this restriction put on the title to your property.

If you would like more information as to how we can help you minimise the risk fraud to your property, please get in touch with a member of our team.