In 2014 the Land Registry launched a property alert service. Thousands of people have signed up to the service which allows property owners and professionals to receive alerts on a property when any conveyancing activity occurs.
The service is free of charge and was introduced to help in the prevention of property fraud. It is estimated that in the last 5 years the Land Registry has prevented over 66 million pounds worth of property fraud transactions. With the addition of the latest property alert system, this figure is set to rise significantly.
Property fraud involves someone trying to steal the equity of an estate from the rightful owner. Those most at risk are:-
- Rental properties – with the owner living off premises, tenants may be able to claim ownership without the landlord’s knowledge.
- Vacant properties – where the owner is no longer occupying the estate due to long term absence.
- Households in dispute – partners or other inhabitants of the property may claim ownership.
- Properties that no longer have a mortgage.
To benefit from the property alert system, you just simply need to sign up to the service by opening an on-line account. Up to ten properties can be monitored at one time and users will receive an email whenever the Land Registry receive an application to alter the registration details of the property. Alerts will also be received when any official searches on the property are carried out.
Home owners should seek the guidance of a solicitor on the steps that they need to take to ensure that their property is protected from fraudulent activity. Security measures that can be carried out on the property include:-
- Registering the property with the Land Registry.
- Ensuring that the Land Registry hold up to date contact details of the legal owner.
- Enforcing restrictions on the property where by a solicitor or conveyancer must certify the identification of the property owner before buying or selling activity commences.