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IDENTITY FRAUD RISKS FOR PROPERTY OWNERS

8th October 2018

Gemma James discusses how solicitors can minimise these risks in the Essence October 2018 issue.

Terrible tales of fraudsters mortgaging or selling properties they do not own are increasingly common. You are more at risk if you live overseas, or if your property is rented out, empty, not mortgaged or not registered. How can your solicitor minimise these risks for you? Consider all or any of the following options:-

  • Register any unregistered titles at the Land Registry.
  • Ensure your correspondence address is up to date at all times on the Title Registers of all properties you own.
  • Inspect the property regularly to ensure no unauthorised parties are in occupation and use managing agents to assist if it is tenanted.
  • Sign up to get property alerts from the Land Registry. This is a free service for up to 10 properties where you will be alerted if someone applies to change the register for your property (such as sale or mortgage) although it will not prevent the change.
  • Put a Restriction on your title to stop a sale or mortgage being registered for your property unless a conveyancer certifies to the Land Registry that the application was made by or for you.

Expect your solicitor to require certified copies of photographic and address evidence of identity for you at the outset of a transaction and to speak with you to confirm your bank details before sending out money to you rather than relying on email (which can be intercepted by fraudsters). Annoying at this may be, it is for your own protection!

Gemma James is a Partner in the Commercial Property Department at Mundays LLP and can be contacted on 01932 590645 or gemma.james@mundays.co.uk.

The contents of this update are intended as guidance for readers. It can be no substitute for specific advice. Consequently we cannot accept responsibility for this information, errors or matters affected by subsequent changes in the law, or the content of any website referred to in this update. © Mundays LLP 2018.

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