It is a fact that empty, tenanted or mortgage-free properties are most vulnerable to fraud. From 1 February 2012, the Land Registry has launched a 6 month trial allowing homeowners and private landlords to register a free restriction against the title to their property. The new application on Form RQ can be used by homeowners who do not live (and do not intend to live) at their property.
Form RQ is designed to assist property owners by protecting their empty or tenanted properties from being sold or mortgaged by a fraudster. The restriction, if granted, prevents any sale, transfer or mortgage of the property from being registered without a solicitor or conveyancer’s certificate. The certificate confirms that the solicitor is satisfied that the person who signed any transfer or mortgage which has been submitted for registration is the same person as the legal homeowner.
All applications are dealt with by the Land Registry’s Birkenhead Office, regardless of where the property is located and there is no charge for the application.
Unfortunately, Form RQ is not appropriate for use in respect of commercial property or development land or where residential property is owned by a company (as opposed to an individual). Property owners not entitled to use Form RQ, including owner occupiers, can still apply for a similar restriction but must pay an application fee of £50.
This Land Registry protection should provide sufficient comfort to an ever growing number of homeowners who are choosing to rent their property when they move, that their valuable asset is safe from fraud.
Are you a homeowner or private landlord currently renting a property or are you thinking about renting your property?
For more information on Form RQ and how best to protect your rental property contact James Clarke in our Real Estate team on 0844 391 5811.