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Property fraud

Beware of fraudsters and keep your home safe!

There have been recent reports in the media following the release of statistics from the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service (CIFAS) which highlight the increase in property identity theft.

Home owners may live abroad, live in long term care or be in hospital for example. But absentee owners of property in England and Wales could be at risk. If your home is mortgage free, vacant or tenanted you could become a potential target for fraudsters:

  • If you own a mortgage free property, fraudsters could steal your identity or impersonate you and create a new mortgage on your property.
  • Tenants may pretend to be you and forge documents to sell or mortgage your property.

Protecting your property

The Land Registry is the government department responsible for registering title to property in England and Wales. It has announced a raft of measures to make it much more difficult to become a victim of property fraud. Ensure you do the following:

1. Register your property at the Land Registry
Your property may already be registered. If you bought the property less than 30 years ago this may be the case. If not, you can voluntarily register your property at the Land Registry. We can check your title deeds and arrange this for you.

We recommend this is done, as if you have been the innocent victim of fraud and suffer financial loss as a consequence, you may be compensated by the Land Registry

2. Keep your correspondence address up to date at the Land Registry
The Land Registry allows more than one address to be noted on your property register, so you can now include an email address and also a foreign address.

3. Put a Restriction on your title at the Land Registry
You can now ask for a restriction to be placed on your title, which will require your solicitor to certify that the person selling or mortgaging your property is actually yo