What steps should I take to avoid property fraud? Commercial Property
You’re more at risk of property fraud if you rent out your property, live overseas, the property is empty or the property is mortgage-free. In such circumstances, applications can be lodged to the Land Registry by fraudsters to register false transactions, which could change the ownership of your property without your knowledge.
Here are some ways to protect yourself from property fraud:
- Keep your address for service at the Land Registry up-to-date: By keeping your service address up-to-date, if the Land Registry needs to write to you, they will write to the correct address and this will bring any suspicious activity to your attention and give you an opportunity to challenge applications made against your property.
- Register a restriction on your legal title to the property: If your property is mortgage-free, you can protect against fraud further by registering a restriction on your legal title to the property. The restriction will be in your own favour and stop any transaction from being registered, without your own written consent.
- Use the Land Registry’s online ‘Property Alert’ service: Land Registry’s ‘Property Alert’ service allows a user to monitor up to 10 properties at a time. The person monitoring the properties does not need to be the registered owner. The benefit of this service is when official searches or applications are received by the Land Registry you will automatically be issued with email alerts. This would allow you to take swift action, if the activity seems suspicious.