We have recently received a communication from the Land Registry which says that July is “Scams Awareness Month”. Now, admittedly, this is not going to excite public interest in the way that other publicised causes do but it is worth spending a few moments reading this summary of the risks and the action which you can take to protect your property from fraud.
Since 2009, HM Land Registry has prevented 254 fraudulent applications being registered, representing property valued in excess of £117,000,000.
You are most at risk if:-
• Your identity has been stolen
• You rent out your property
• You live overseas
• Your property is empty
• Your property is not mortgaged
• Your property is not registered with HM Land Registry.
What can you do?
• The first and best thing that you should do is make sure that your property is registered.
• If you bought or mortgaged your property after 1998 then it will be registered. If the last transaction was prior to that date then it may, or may not, be registered
• If your property is not registered then you should consider contacting us to instruct us to apply for First Registration on your behalf. The cost of doing this will depend upon the complexity of the title and the value of the property. We are happy to discuss this with you should you wish to consider the option.
• It is sometimes possible to have the Land Registry register a restriction on the title whereby anyone applying to register a transfer has to produce a certificate signed by a Conveyancer that the Conveyancer has verified the identity of the Seller. That is particularly helpful if you are living abroad and/or your property is empty.
Fraud is a huge issue these days even if you are ultimately successful in having the transaction set aside. The shock and horror of returning home to find somebody else living in your property is worth spending some time and money to avoid.
If you wish to discuss this further please contact any of our branches.