14 August, 2008
In today's society fraud is an increasing problem and any property that you own could be subjected to fraud. Your home is probably one of your most valuable possessions, it can be used to raise further borrowing by way of mortgage, can be sold for considerable return and like any other valuable asset it may also become the object of desire to fraudsters.
If you think that there is a real risk of your property being transferred fraudulently, one method of protection is to place a restriction on the title to the property at the Land Registry. If the property is being sold or mortgaged the person dealing with the transaction will have notice of the restriction and will be able to make sure that the terms of the restriction are followed. You may wish to think about having a form LL restriction entered on your title, this type of restriction requires the conveyancer or solicitor to check the identity of the person who signs the transfer or mortgage deed ensuring that they are the same person as the registered owner of the property.
There is a greater threat when a person selling or dealing with a property does not have legal representation and to help prevent property fraud in these situations the Land Registry has recently brought in further safeguards. If an unrepresented person makes certain Land Registry applications or sells a property, the Land Registry now require them to have their identity certified by a conveyancer or solicitor. Solicitors have safeguards in place to reduce the threat of fraudulent transactions as they are already obligated to verify the identity of all clients.
There are other ways to protect your property against fraud, it is always important to keep the Land Registry informed if you change your address so that they are able to contact you in relation to an application on your property. It is possible to enter up to three contact addresses at the Land Registry one of which can be an email address. Also, if your property is unregistered it is possible to apply to the Land Registry for voluntary registration of your ownership of the property.
For further information on any of the legal issues discussed, please contact Susan Piela on 01772 220022.