How to protect your property from fraudulent transactions

For most people, their property is the largest asset they own, so protecting it from being sold or mortgaged fraudulently is extremely important.

There are a number of factors which could mean a property is more at risk or more attractive to criminals looking to commit property fraud. These include where the property is rented out; the owner lives overseas; the property is empty; the property is not mortgaged; or if the property is not registered with the Land Registry.  It is also vital to ensure that all details recorded at the Land Registry are correct, as the Land Registry may try to contact you using the address they have if there is an issue but often individuals have not kept this up to date.

The Land Registry have a service where you can enter a restriction on the Land Registry title to your property to try to prevent it being sold or mortgaged without a solicitor certifying that the application was made by you. This is in an attempt to add a further layer of protection to any transaction so that only those who should be involved actually are.

The process to enter the restriction on the Land Registry title is by way of a form and if you do not live at the property, the Land Registry do not charge a fee. A solicitor will be able to assist in making the application and will be able to properly explain the correct circumstances in which it is appropriate and how the restriction can be removed.

The restriction can only be removed if a solicitor is satisfied that the person selling the property is the same as the person who purchased the property. This can sometimes cause issues if a different solicitor is used who has no prior knowledge of the client or property and may not be able to sign such a certificate. We would therefore urge you to speak to a solicitor before having the restriction entered to ensure you fully understand the implications.

If you have any queries or would like a quote from our team, please contact our Property Department  on 01553 778112 and we would be happy to assist.