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How can I protect my property against fraud?

View profile for Jess Birch
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Property is an attractive target for fraudsters. There are many sophisticated schemes including scammers trying to sell your property from under your nose using false documents, intercepting funds during a purchase or a sale and even impersonating the owner to mortgage your property. It can unfortunately happen to anyone. However, you are more at risk if your property is rented out, empty, mortgage free or not registered with the Land Registry.

Here are some tips to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of property fraud:

  • Sign up to the Land Registry’s free Property Alert Service. The Land Registry will send you free email notifications of certain applications affecting the property you are monitoring, such as a new mortgage or change of ownership. You can register up to 10 registered properties in England and Wales, which is great if you wish to monitor the property of an elderly relative, for example. Here is a link for more information and to sign up for free alerts https://www.gov.uk/guidance/property-alert
  • Ensure that your contact details are up to date with the Land Registry.
  • Ensure your property is registered with the Land Registry so that you can be compensated if you do become a victim of property fraud. Properties most likely to be unregistered are those that have not been mortgaged or changed hands since 1990.
  • Put a restriction on the title of your property. This stops the Land Registry from registering a sale or a mortgage without a solicitor or conveyancer certifying that the application was made by you.

If you need advice or assistance in relation to registering your property, placing a restriction on the title or with any other property matter, please contact one of our property experts.  I am based at our Colchester Office and can be contacted on 01245 453864 or email me at jess.elwell@birkettlong.co.uk.

 

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