Duncan Lewis

Romford Office

Crime and Civil cases

house 40 staff

How to avoid being victim to a property fraud

Date: (7 February 2013)    |    

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Homeowners who are concerned that their property might be subject to fraudulent sale or mortgage can feel happy that the Land Registry has launched a property fraud line which would take complaints from the homeowners on the phone and practical guidance would be offered by specially trained staff on the next course of action.

Homeowners whose properties are vulnerable to registration or mortgage fraud are generally ones which are empty, having tenants or which are not mortgaged. And those owners who are not living in their properties because they are abroad or owners who are buy-to-let landlords or who are in a hospital for a long periods or residential care or in a relationship which has broken down, such property owners are in a high risk category to be defrauded.

For instance a but to let landlord may get a call from a local estate agent saying that one of his rental properties seem to be put in market for sale or where a relative learns that the property of a deceased relative has been stolen by a impersonating fraudster.

Property fraud could happen by either using a forged document to transfer the property in the name of the fraudster or their people or by impersonating the registered owner and once they raise money by mortgaging the property they disappear without making repayments.

The legal services director Alasdair Lewis said, fraud cost the country £38 billion each year and government has a zero tolerance to fraud against the public purse but to fight it everyone needed to work together.

Among the range of counter fraud measures, Land Registry’s trial of a free restriction for absent owners is being continued. Designed to help prevent forgery the restriction requires a conveyancing solicitor or conveyancer to certify they are satisfied that the person selling or mortgaging the property is the true owner.
There is no Land Registry fee for homeowners who wish to register this restriction as long as they do not live in the property. Owner occupiers pay a small fee.
Land Registry has some tips to help owners protect their property from fraudsters which are:
• Making sure that your property is registered so that if you become an innocent victim of fraud you could be compensated.
• Contact details to be always kept up to date so that you could be reached easily.
• Have up to three addresses on the register, email address or an overseas address as more information allows better chances of reaching you in case of need.



Duncan Lewis Blog - Posted By: Mr Mufthau Longe on 10 May 2012 at 1:13

A debt collection agency is threatening to make an application to a court for a charging order on my property to secure company judgement debt against me. I have never had any correspondence from the company in the past

Can you advise me