Property fraud is when a criminal pretends to be the owner of a property and attempts to sell/mortgage it without the permission or knowledge of the real owner. This is done by means of a forged document to transfer the property into the fraudster’s own name, or by impersonating the registered owner. After obtaining money by mortgaging the property, the fraudster will then vanish without making any repayments and the owner is left to handle the after-effects.
Of course, some properties are more at risk than others of property fraud, including those that have not been registered with HM Land Registry, are not mortgaged or are completely uninhabited. You are also vulnerable from various fraudulent attacks if your identity has been stolen. However, there are steps you can take to protect your property from being fraudulently sold.
Firstly, it is vital that your property is registered with HM Land Restry. This shows proof of ownership and helps you protect your property. You can register yourself, but the majority of property owners tend to use a solicitor or conveyancer. Make sure HM Land Registry have up-to-date contact details for you; they will accept three addresses, which could be an overseas address or an email address.
It is worth setting up property alerts, which will notify you if there has been a change to the register of your property. The changes won’t be blocked, but you will be made aware so that you can take appropriate action. You can set up alerts for a maximum of 10 different properties, which is ideal if you rent out more than one building.
If you do think you are a victim of property fraud, you must contact HM Land Registry property fraud line. You can also receive professional advice from an independent legal adviser, or report the case to Action Fraud.
Categorised in: News
This post was written by Dennis Adam