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Protection against Property Fraud – the Perfect Gift for Property Owners this Christmas

With the festive season officially underway, the last thing property owners want to think about is their exposure to property fraud. However, for those who own properties which are rented, vacant, not mortgaged or not registered at the Land Registry, property fraud is a real concern.

Fortunately, there are now safety measures available, which can reduce the risk of property owners experiencing their own nightmare before (and after) Christmas.

The Land Registry have introduced two ways in which owners can protect their property from fraud:

  1. Track changes to the register

Property owners can sign up to receive property alerts if someone applies to change the register to the property (for example, someone tries to use their property to secure a mortgage). The alerts do not automatically block changes to the register however, it will alert the owner when something changes so that action can be taken.

  1. Put a restriction on your title

Property owners can also put a restriction on their title, which will stop the Land Registry registering a sale or mortgage on the property unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies that the application was made by the owner. The Land Registry will inform the owner when the restriction is added.

If the property is unregistered, it will need to be first registered at the Land Registry in order to benefit from the above protections.

As always, there is no guarantee that actioning the above will provide property owners with 100% protection however, these are sensible ways for owners to monitor their property and stay alert to any unusual activity.

In addition, if you are moving house this Christmas or think that the Land Registry may not have the correct details of your service address (for your main residence or your buy-to-let properties), you should be updating the Land Registry to ensure that any correspondence, notifications and property alerts are sent to the right address.

If you would like to know more about the above or would like assistance with making first registration applications, please do not hesitate to contact our Loughton or Epping Property teams here at Foskett Marr Gadsby & Head LLP, on 01992 578 642.