Land Registry introduces new procedures to protect property from fraud
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It's all too common to see news stories about how land has been 'stolen', often from someone who does not occupy the property in question. Fraudsters 'steal' the identity of the owner and then sell or mortgage the land. Recent Government figures estimate that property fraud cost the UK private real estate sector some £501m lat year.
In February, Land Registry launched an additional security measure aimed at people who own a residential property but who do not live there. This is being trialled for six months and is intended to be an additional deterrent against fraud. A restriction will be placed on the title, requiring a conveyancer to certify that they are satisfied that the person transferring or mortgaging the property is the same person as the owner. Unless this is done, Land Registry will not register a transfer or mortgage of the land.
This service is available free of charge for private individuals who do not live at the property concerned.
Similar services are available (at a modest fee) for other landowners who wish to protect their property against fraud.
Another simple step that all landowners can take to safeguard their property against fraud is to make sure that their address on the register is kept up to date. If they do not occupy the property, the address needs to be somewhere where correspondence will reach them, for example if Land Registry notify them of a proposed application. Up to three addresses can be given.
Please contact us if you would like further information about this topic.