Legal advice from Tim Jordan, Conveyancing Partner based at office in Stockton Heath
Protecting yourself against Conveyancing Fraud
Q: “What can we do to protect our property against potential fraud?”
A: Sadly there has been an increase in cases of fraud relating to the buying and selling of property and it’s pertinent that homeowners are diligent with protecting, what is in most cases, our biggest asset.
This is particularly important if your identity has been stolen, you rent out your property, you live overseas, the property is empty or the property is not mortgaged.
- Land Registry - in the first instance you can check on the HM Land Registry if your property is registered and in your name.
- Property Alerts - you can sign up for alerts on the Land Registry so that if someone applies to change the register of your property or use it to apply for a mortgage www.propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/ . This won’t automatically block any changes, but it will give you notice to take action.
- Contact Details - you should check if your contact details are correct on the Land Registry. You can register up to three addresses, including email and non-UK addresses for each property. If you need to register a change of name, you will be required to produce official documentation e.g. marriage, civil partnership or gender recognition certificate, a copy of a deed poll, statement of truth or statutory declaration that has been sworn before someone able to take oaths, such as a solicitor. You are also required to inform the HM Land Registry if a mortgage on a registered property is paid off.
- Bank Details – you should NEVER send your bank details in an email unless it is encrypted.
- Conveyancer – when employing the services of a solicitor or conveyancer to handle your property transactions on your behalf, ask them what measures they take to protect themselves against potential fraud.