How can I protect my property from fraud?

Wednesday 5th January 2022

The Land Registry have set up a scheme which reduces the risk of a homeowner from being a victim of property fraud.

You are more at risk of property fraud if:

● Your identity has been stolen

● You rent out your property

● You live overseas

● The property is empty

● The property is not mortgaged

● The property is not registered with HM Land Registry

The following steps can be taken to protect and prevent yourself from being a victim of property fraud.

Prevent property fraud

Signing up to the property service

The Property Alert Service is a free service and can be used by anyone who has a registered property at the Land Registry which is situated in England or Wales.  This service allows you to sign up to receive email alerts when certain activity occurs on your property that is being monitored. For example, if someone applies to change the register of your property, you will be notified. Although this service does not automatically block any changes that are due to take place to the register it will send an alert to you so that you can take the necessary action to prevent this from occurring. There is no fee for this service and you can receive alerts for up to 10 properties.

Registering an anti-fraud restriction on your property title

This restriction is entered onto the title register of the property and states that any application to change the register will need to be accompanied by a certificate by a solicitor or conveyancer certifying that the application to change the register was made by you and the solicitor/conveyancer is satisfied that the person who has signed the documents is the same person as the registered proprietor on the title register. By registering this Anti-Fraud restriction against your property title, you can stop HM Land Registry from registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless the relevant certificate has been supplied.

The registration of this restriction also acts as a deterrent to fraudsters as the presence of this restriction indicates that the title register of your property cannot be altered without an independent certificate of your identity by your solicitor/conveyancer. However, please note that when you come to sell the property in the future you will need to be aware that you would need to obtain the independent certification of your identity from your solicitor/conveyancer which may cause a slight delay or additional expense due to the Land Registry’s requirements.