We are frequently being made aware of fraudulent activity surrounding residential property transactions and unfortunately the trend is becoming even more common. What should you be looking out for when it comes to residential property fraud?
Listed below are some top tips to help protect you from fraud:
Security of bank details:
When transferring money, it is good practice to phone your solicitor to check their bank details and to check they have the correct bank details for you, especially when details have been provided initially by email.
Recently, we are hearing cases of emails being intercepted, details changed, and fraudsters taking vast amounts of people’s hard earned money.
If you own a property without a mortgage:
If there is no mortgage on the property, you lose a second safeguard against fraud. Usually, when there is a mortgage in place, a lender will place a charge on a property and the Land Registry will not be able to make any alterations to the Proprietorship Register without consent from the mortgage lender. This is because typically the name on the register is responsible for the mortgage and the lender wouldn’t want to limit their avenues for repercussion if the mortgage is defaulted by the owner/borrower.
It is advisable to enter a restriction on the Property Register in your favour. The restriction can simply say that there should be no disposition of the property without consent, in writing, from the proprietor (the official owner), or a nominated person whose full name is listed, or the proprietor’s conveyancer.
This will mean that the proprietor, their nominated person or their conveyancer will need to provide separate written consent which qualifies the proprietor to sell the property, and most importantly, will not allow any other person to become the legal owner of that property. The Land Registry will not allow the transfer to take place without this consent and puts a stop to the fraud taking place.
Check the address:
You should make sure that the property address is up to date at the Land Registry. Also, if the property is a buy to let investment, or tenanted, you should make sure that your home address and contact details are noted on the register.
If you’d like more information, please visit our residential conveyancing solicitors page.
For more information and advice on protecting yourself from fraud when purchasing or selling a house, please contact our Conveyancing team on 0161 475 7676.