Protect your property
Land Registry Anti-Fraud Restrictions
Property Fraud is on the increase, particularly where property is vacant, let or under refurbishment. Mortgage free property is more susceptible to the crime but properties with a mortgage are not exempt. This can apply to private individuals and corporate owners such as landlords of residential and commercial properties.
Property Fraud can happen in a number of ways. Fraudsters may attempt to acquire ownership of a property by impersonating the registered owner or by using forged documents to transfer the property into their own name.
Three years ago, the Land Registry introduced a system for private individuals of such properties. This enabled them to apply to the Registry and request a free anti-fraud restriction to be noted on the title documents, by using a Land Registry Form RQ. From February 2015, the Land Registry is now offering the same restriction for company owners using a Land Registry Form RQ (Co).
Whilst the restriction above relates to individuals and companies who already own their properties, Crane & Staples also advise clients who are currently purchasing property about the benefit of applying for such a restriction. We will automatically apply for this restriction on behalf our clients once the purchase has completed, unless they do not want it.
The restriction is designed to help safeguard against forgery by requiring conveyancers, for example a solicitor, to certify that they are satisfied the company transferring, leasing or mortgaging the property is the same company as the owner. The conveyancer must also certify that they have taken reasonable steps to establish that anyone who signs the transfer is the true owner or has authority to sign.
The Land Registry’s top tips to protect property from fraudsters are:
- make sure the property is registered. Innocent victims of fraud who suffer a financial loss as a consequence, may be compensated
- once registered, have up-to-date contact details on the title register so we can reach you easily - up to three addresses can be used including email addresses or an address abroad
- sign up for our multi award-winning free Property Alert service which helps owners guard against property fraud on up to ten registered properties in England and Wales gov.uk/property-alert
- private owners and companies who feel their property might be at risk can have a restriction entered on their title register which is designed to help prevent forgery
- contact the Land Registry property fraud line on 0300 006 7030 if you think you’re the victim of property fraud or email firstname.lastname@example.org