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Property fraud – a warning for all absent homeowners and landlords

14 June 2017

Non-owner occupied properties are most at risk of fraud, particularly if that property is also mortgage free. A recent rise in frauds has seen fraudster tenants taking on their landlord’s identity, selling the property and pocketing the sale proceeds before the fraud is discovered.

So, what can you do to avoid becoming a victim? Here are a few tips:-

  1. Sign up to the Land Registry’s free property alert service.

The Land Registry will send email alerts when there is certain activity on the monitored property. You will be able to monitor your property if it is registered with the Land Registry or monitor the property of a friend or relative – you don’t have to own the property to set up the alerts.

  1. Put a restriction on the title

The restriction would stop the Land registry from registering a sale or mortgage of the property unless a solicitor certifies that the application was made by you. There is no fee for property owners to register this restriction against a property they own but don’t live in – otherwise it is £40. If you are a company owning property then you can register the restriction on three properties for free.

  1. Make sure your contact details are up to date

It is important that all of your details with the Land Registry are up to date. You can have three addresses, one must be a postal address in the UK or abroad but you can also have an email address. If you are a company owning a property that has changed its registered office, the address should be updated on all properties the company owns.

The risk of property fraud is a very real one and unfortunately there appears to be an increasing number of incidents each year. It is difficult to completely eliminate the threat but by taking a number of steps the risk can be minimised significantly. Call the Poole Alcock Commercial Property team for more help and advice in protecting your property assets on 01270 625478.

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