Some property is particularly vulnerable to fraud, for example high value, unoccupied, mortgage-free, and (in some cases) tenanted properties. While high profile fraud cases have usually involved residential property, commercial property owners should be vigilant too. There are some simple steps all property owners can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of property fraud:
- keep your address for service of all your properties registered at HM Land Registry up to date. For more guidance, please see our briefing: Keeping your Land Registry Address up to date. If your address for service is up to date, HM Land Registry is able to contact you if it is concerned that an application relating to your property may be fraudulent;
- consider signing up to HM Land Registry’s fraud alert service: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/property-alert. HM Land Registry will then e mail you if an official search or application is made, for example to register a new mortgage or a sale of a property you are monitoring. If you are notified of an application that you have not authorised, you have the opportunity to contact HM Land Registry and if you act quickly, a fraudulent application may be stopped.
If you would like any more information or help, please get in touch.
This information is necessarily brief and is not intended to be an exhaustive statement of the law. It is essential that professional advice is sought before any decision is taken.