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Land Registry changes to help prevent property fraud

07 February 2012


Property investors and owners who don’t live in their property can now register for free a restriction which is designed to prevent their property being used in a financial fraud in changes announced last week by the Land Registry says Adams & Remers.

The land registry point out that most fraudsters target properties with no mortgage or where the owner does not live at the property, and attempt to forge their signature to documents or even impersonate the owner. We have all heard tales of owners returning from spells overseas, to find someone has attempted, or indeed succeeded in fraudulently selling the property in their absence.

The land registry state the potential for such fraud is increased where:

  • A property is empty or bought as a buy to let
  • An owner is spending time abroad or is absent
  • The owner is infirm or in a nursing or care home
  • A relationship breaks down
  • A property has no mortgage

On a purchase of a property, your legal representative should of course immediately register you as the legal owner of the property at the land registry. An address for service for any notifications issued by the land registry in relation to applications to change details of the record of ownership at the land registry is also given.

The scope for fraud arises where the address for service is out dated but also where the attempted “dealing” is not one automatically notified by the land registry to the registered owner. The opportunity for fraud by forged documents or impersonation is apparent.

The restriction requires a solicitor of conveyance to certify that they are satisfied the person who makes an application for a change of ownership for example, and who has executed the documents, is the true owner of the property.

If you are already registered as the owner and also occupy your property, you may want added safety by applying for the “form LL” restriction which can be applied for by your solicitor or conveyancer at a fee of £50.00. Owners who are not occupiers may apply for a restriction using a simpler process for which there is no fee for the moment. Adams & Remers would be happy to make the applications for you free of charge, subject only to the land registry fee if applicable.

 

 

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