- Wed 15 Dec 2021
Whilst rare, the thought of falling victim to property fraud is frightening for anyone and with a recent case being well publicised earlier this year a guide to help homeowners avoid property title fraud has been released today by the Fraud Advisory Panel, HM Land Registry and the Law Society of England and Wales.
Property fraud happens when a fraudster changes the registered details of a building to pose as its owner. The fraudster then applies for a mortgage or sells the property to an unwitting buyer and disappears with the proceeds. The original owner then has to prove they were the rightful owner and start the process of reclaiming their home.
In the financial year 2020/21 HM Land Registry received 22 claims for indemnity in relation to property title fraud and paid out £3.5m worth of compensation for these claims.
People who own houses that are standing empty are particularly vulnerable to this type of fraud, as are properties which have a high value, are not mortgaged, or whose owners have recently died.
The guide said there are four main steps homeowners can take to protect themselves:
Richard Greetham, Director at Bradleys Estate Agents added “Thankfully the numbers of property fraud cases are relatively low, the pain and stress, not to mention the thought that someone has stolen your home from you is sickening. The guidance is key and also to raise homeowners awareness along with the simple measures that can be taken to ensure they don’t fall victim of this awful crime.”
Bradleys Estate Agents provides sales and lettings service across Devon, Somerset and Cornwall. Each transaction whether selling, buying or letting a home will involve a series of thorough identification and title register checks, which help reduce the chance of a criminal being able to sell or let a home that they’re not entitled to do so.