With interest rates lying at continually low levels many investors have re-focused their investments in the property market. When you own a number of properties there is always the unfortunate risk of property fraud.
So imagine this scenario; you have just returned from a two month trip from China or Hong Kong and you find yourself in a situation where an investment property has been sold and transferred to a new purchaser without your knowledge or additional borrowing has been fraudulently entered against your property.
This is identity fraud and it still happens.
How do we prevent the above scenario; well luckily for those in England and Wales the Land Registry now offer the following solutions:
Ensure that the Land Registry holds your current up-to-date correspondence addresses. Up to three correspondence addresses can be placed for each property. It would be an idea to ensure your solicitor’s address is added so that any applications to adjust the title would be brought to the attention of yourself and your appointment solicitors.
Register with the Land Registry to receive property alerts whenever applications such as mortgage charges are registered on your title. This would enable you to take appropriate action after the alert but please not it does not block any changes/applications. This is free and you can receive alerts for up to 10 properties at any one time.
Register restrictions on your property e.g. with a need that a solicitor certifies the application was made by you. This is free for those who do not reside in the property in question and would cost £40 for properties which you actually live in.
If you are a victim of fraud; contact a solicitor immediately and notify the Land Registry on their dedicated hotline:
HM Land Registry property fraud line
Telephone: 0300 006 7030
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm
Prevention is better than cure.
If readers have any further questions I would also be happy to assist – feel free to contact me on [email protected] (020 8514 9080).