How Can I Protect My Property From Fraud?
In her latest blog, Timms Conveyancing Solicitor, Michelle Rock, discusses property fraud & how to prevent this happening to you…
There have been many horror stories where fraudsters either fraudulently sell property from under the legal owners’ nose and receive the net proceeds of sale or re-mortgage the property and taking the mortgage funds leaving the legal owner with the debt.
When Is A Property Considered High Risk?
Your property will be considered high risk in the following scenarios:
- If it is a buy to let property.
- If the property is vacant or empty.
- If the property is not registered at the Land Registry.
- If the legal owners home address details are not kept up to date.
There are numerous high risk properties that fraudsters target these are empty, tenanted and mortgage free properties. However, it is worth being vigilant with any property given that it is a substantial asset to lose!
How To Protect Your Property From Fraud
At Timms, we offer the option of added protection by way of a ‘Fraud Restriction’. This is a Restriction added to the Title on completion. The Restriction is an added safety net that will put the onus on the solicitor instructed to sell the property to provide a Certificate to confirm that the person selling the property is the true owner (and not a fraudster).
Our fee for registering this Restriction is £80 plus VAT. You need to be aware that when you come to sell the property there are likely to be added costs for the Solicitor preparing the Certificate to satisfy the Restriction for Land Registry purposes.
Although there are further costs, the Restriction will provide an extra hurdle for fraudsters to jump through to sell the property, giving additional protection to safeguard the property.
An alternative is to sign up for Property Alerts with the Land Registry, which is a free service. The Land Registry will email you alerts when there is certain activity on the Title to your property. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/property-alert#sign-up-to-property-alert