As your home is probably the most valuable asset you own, you’ll want to be aware of and prepared for the fact that property fraud is on the rise. Many people unfortunately fall victim to fraud relating to their property, as the fraudsters tactics become ever more devious and trickier to spot.
Over the last decade, approximately 55 million has been paid out by the Land Registry for forgeries committed on registered properties in the UK. So, how can you protect yourself and your assets from becoming a victim of this pernicious crime?
What happens is that fraudsters pretend to be you so they can sell your home or put a mortgage on it. Homes that are at higher risk include those that are:
Here are some steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of forgery:
Register your property at the Land Registry. Your property will be automatically registered if it was bought or mortgaged after 1998. It is possible to check if you are unsure, simply contact the HM Land Registry. When a property is registered and falls victim to forgery where financial loss occurs, the home owner will be compensated by the Land Registry through their indemnity scheme.
For unregistered properties, it is possible to apply for registration voluntarily, for which the Land Registry offer a reduced fee. If on registration, you won’t be living in the property, it’s important to keep your contact details up to date, particularly if you’ve had multiple addresses since buying the property in question. Get help with all Conveyancing Quotes from a site like Sam Conveyancing.
The Land Registry also offer an alert system which is a free service that notifies homeowners if applications are made regarding their property. For example, should there be a mortgage application or change of ownership request, an alert will be sent. You can also monitor a property on behalf of a friend or elderly family member, you don’t need to be the owner of the property. Such alerts are normally sent via email and provide great peace of mind in the fight against property fraud.
For those who feel their property is at significant risk of fraud, there are restrictions that can be placed on the property. The restriction prevents the Land Registry from registering a mortgage or sale unless a solicitor or conveyancer can certify that the request came from yourself. Protecting your property is crucial, as it’s such a valuable asset.