Property fraud can happen in a number of different ways. For example, fraudsters may attempt to acquire ownership of a property by using forged documents, or by impersonating the registered owner. The fraudsters may then raise money by mortgaging the property without the owner’s knowledge before disappearing without making repayments, leaving the owner to deal with the consequences.
Some property owners are more at risk from property fraud than others, for example:
When a property is mortgage-free.
When a property is empty, perhaps because the owner is abroad or in a care home.
When a property is let.
In the case of difficult family circumstances, for example separation and divorce.
Although the instances of property fraud may be lower than other types of fraud, the effects can be financially devastating.
If you have not already done so, registering for the HM Land Registry Property Alert service could help. It's free, quick and simple to register, and can provide an early warning of suspicious activity. This might allow you to take action or seek advice if you are notified of an activity that you are not expecting.
The service allows you to monitor up to 10 properties simply by entering the address, and you don't need to be the legal owner of the property to monitor it. This might be helpful in registering to monitor the property of an elderly relative on their behalf, for example.
To find out more and to register for the Property Alert service with HM Land Registry at the link below, or by telephone on 0300 006 0478.
HM Land Registry have published the short video below which explains more.
If you have not already done so, I would strongly recommend registering your home and any other properties you'd like to monitor with this free service. If I can be of any assistance, please do get in touch.
Michael Roberts FPFS
Chartered Financial Planner and Director
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