The Land Registry has launched a new service called Property Alert aimed at anyone who thinks their property could be at risk of fraud.
Property fraud can happen in many ways. For example, fraudsters may attempt to acquire ownership of a property by using forged documents, or by impersonating the registered owner. The fraudsters may then raise money by mortgaging the property without the owner's knowledge before disappearing without making repayments, leaving the owner to deal with the consequences.
For more information visit http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/property-alert
PROPERTIES MOST LIKELY TO BE AT RISK FROM FRAUDSTERS
- Empty properties, for example where the owner lives abroad or is in a care home
Where there are family problems. For example, when a relative dies, a family member could try to sell a property without giving someone their proper share or in a relationship break-down someone could try and mortgage a property without their partner knowing
Tenanted properties, for example where the owner lives elsewhere, a tenant might try to mortgage or sell the property without the owner's knowledge.
Properties without a mortgage. According to Land Registry records nearly half of all registered residential properties are mortgage-free.
The new scheme is free and easy to use. It allows people to register up to three properties to be monitored. Email alerts will be sent when Land Registry receives an application to change the register or make an official searches. The customer can then judge whether or not the activity is suspicious and if they should seek further advice. If applicable, investigations into the authenticity of the mortgage application can then begin much earlier in the process.
Land Registry’s award-winning Counter-Fraud Unit works closely with the police and other agencies to reduce the risk of property fraud. Between September 2009 and January 2014 Land Registry stopped fraud on properties worth more than £62 million.
- LGSS strongly welcomes this new initiative from the Land Registry. We would like to take this opportunity to remind our valuer colleagues that they play a vital role in reporting suspicious activities to help us to protect our client lenders from fraud.