Landlords, beware of Property Fraud – Land Registry

A potential problem for Landlords over recent years is the tenant pretending he is the owner and re-mortgaging your property or even selling it on to someone else.

For example in the case of Barclays Bank plc v. Guy, the property was transferred into a fraudsters name and then a mortgage was taken out. The court held that the property title could be transferred back to the real owner but it would be subject to the mortgage as the mortgage company had done all the proper checks and acted in good faith. If the criminal tenant has spent the mortgage money, then the Landlord will not be getting much if any of that back.

There is an easy way to protect yourself from this sort of thing, however. The Land Registry has a service where you can be sent a property alert at an address other than the property address if any attempt is made to make changes to the property register.
You can get alerts for up to ten properties and there is no fee. ALL landlords should get this done as a matter of course.

Just go to the official Land Registry website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/land-registry Click on ‘Search Property Ownership Information’ then click on ‘Protect your Land and Property from Fraud’.
You can set up property alerts and you can also fill out a form to apply for a restriction to protect any private individual(s) who own a property but do not live in it.

If you have not signed up to the Land Registry property alerts service yet – I suggest you don’t delay. Make sure you do this today!

Posted by Steve Cass

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