A new guide, aimed at helping homeowners avoid the devastating impact of property title fraud, has been launched.

guide to avoiding property fraud

Cases of the scam, with involves a criminal changing the registered details of a building to pose as its owner, have been reported on the BBC’s consumer programme You and Yours. Fraudsters then apply for a mortgage using the property as security or sell it on, taking the proceeds.

The guide has been produced by the Fraud Advisory Panel, HM Land Registry and the Law Society of England and Wales. David Clarke, chair of the Fraud Advisory Panel, said: “Property title frauds are rare, but can have a terrible impact on victims and result in them losing their homes. By taking the simple steps outlined in this guide homeowners can protect themselves from property title fraud. Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of this scam should report it to Action Fraud or HM Land Registry.”

Homes, which are standing empty, are not mortgaged or where the owner has recently died, are most susceptible to the scam, for which HM Land Registry paid out £3.5m worth of compensation in the financial year 2020/21.

According to the guide, homeowners should ensure their property is registered with HM Land Registry and keep their contact details up to date. Property owners can also sign up to HM Land Registry’s free online property alert service, which gives an immediate notification if someone tries to change the property’s register entry. Owners of properties at particular risk can apply for a restriction on the title so a conveyancer must certify any sale.

Read more about this story on the Property Wire website.

About the author

Nicolas Holmes

Nick joined Robert Holmes to inject fresh ideas and help grow the New Homes department of Robert Holmes as well as helping to inject technology into the business and to grow its client base. Together with one of the Directors Nick is in charge of all Development opportunities that Robert Holmes deals with along with sales. Aged 40, he provides succession together with the two existing directors. Nick has always been focused on building client relationships and sales. He built up his own gallery in Chelsea, where he had a loyal following of customers and artists.

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