There is an alarming rise in property fraud to which every property owner is vulnerable with fraudsters using increasingly sophisticated methods to misappropriate property interests. Those properties that are either unregistered at the Land Registry, vacant, tenanted, being refurbished or mortgage free are considered to be most at risk so this raises the question what, if any, measures may be available to you to better protect your property against such criminal activity?
Set out below are a list of some safe guards that can be put in place depending on the nature and ownership status of the property:
1. Ensure that the “address for service” set out on your registered title is correct and up to date. If it is not, then the Land Registry will not be able to contact you to notify you of any activities taking place that affect the registered title to the property and you could miss the opportunity to take early action against a third party who is trying to claim an interest in your property.
2. Sign up to the Land Registry “Property Alert Service” which is available on the Land Registry website. This service allows you as the property owner to track changes made to the property title register(s) and request property alerts if someone applies to change the register of the property, for example if someone tries to register a mortgage against the property. This is a free service provided by the Land Registry and is aimed at anyone who feels a registered property could be at risk from fraud. Please note: this service will not automatically block any changes to the register but it will alert you to such changes to provide you with the opportunity to take action. At present alerts can be put in place for up to 10 properties.
3. Apply to the Land Registry to put a restriction on the title to your property to stop the Land Registry registering a sale or mortgage of your property unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies the application has been made by you.
4. Register any un-registered land at the Land Registry so that you are notified if any third party tries to claim an interest or secure a loan fraudulently over your property. Registration is also advisable as a measure to protect against boundary encroachment, facilitate any dealings with your property in future and to clarify the extent of land ownership where title deeds contain poorly prepared plans or do not reflect the ownership position on the ground.
At Neves we are committed to guarding against property fraud and would be happy to work together with you to discuss possible options available to better protect your property against criminals and also to tidy up any existing title issues to assist with the smooth running of any dealings with that property in future.