Property is usually the most valuable asset a person can own, and are therefore an attractive target for fraudsters. Recent legislation abolished the requirement for Land and Charge Certificates which was documentary evidence of a person’s ownership of land. This is part of the move towards e-conveyancing, but until it is fully implemented, it could leave some property owners open to being the victim of fraud.
A determined person could obtain fake identification and use this to open information from the Land Registry to aid them in a fraudulent property transaction.
In order to protect against this property, it is possible to add a standard restriction on the title registry. This would be to prevent the Land Registry from registering a transfer, lease or charge without a legal professional certifying that the details of the proprietor is correct. Such a restriction would not prevent a potential fraudulent act, but would create a sufficient obstacle to make it more difficult.
It is important to keep the Land Registry fully updated on your contact details in order for you to be contacted regarding an application on your property. The Land Registry are happy to accept three contact addresses, one of which can be an email address. Also if your property is not yet registered with the Land Registry, it is also possible to apply directly to the Land Registry for voluntary first registration.
If you own a property that you are letting out, you could be at risk if you have mail going to that address. It is important that no personal documents are left at this address, and that all identity, credit and reference checks are carried out on the tenants themselves.