Protect Your Property From Fraud
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Property help
28 Mar 2024

Protect Your Property From Fraud

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Posted by Neil Harbinson

Your property portfolio might be your most valuable asset, which makes it very attractive to criminals who would like to steal it from you. This type of fraud has been highlighted recently as cases where criminals target property owners by impersonating them have been on the rise. Having stolen the identity of the property owner, the criminals then apply to have the legal title of the property transferred and they take out a mortgage, allowing them to disappear with the money. Sadly, this sort of fraud is rising, with data showing that between April 2022 and March 2023, cases of property fraud were 15.3% higher than in the previous 12 months.

The Land Registry has identified certain types of properties that criminals prefer to target and these comprise of the following:

  • unoccupied properties
  • tenanted properties
  • high value properties without a legal charge
  • high value properties with a legal charge in favour of an individual living overseas
  • properties undergoing redevelopment

Luckily there is a simple and straightforward way to protect your asset. The Land Registry offers a free Property Alert service to property owners and allows them to register up to 10 addresses. HMLR provides six monthly updates and will send you a notification if anything occurs. We recommend that all our landlords subscribe to this service. It is quick and easy to register.

You can also put a restriction on your legal title to your property which will stop HM Land Registry registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies the application was made by you. HMLR offer this as a free service to businesses and buy to let landlords. They charge a fee of £40 if you are registering the property that you live in. Your conveyancer or solicitor may however charge you for providing a certificate if one is required by a restriction on your property.

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Neil Harbinson

BA (Hons), LLB (Hons), MCILEx


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