Fraudsters are targeting mortgage-free properties, with the aim of selling them on and pocketing the proceeds — all from under the nose of the legitimate owner.
A recent trend in property crime is seeing criminals make hundreds of thousands of pounds from houses belonging to other people by claiming to be the owner and successfully transferring the deeds or even selling the building.
If you own a property or land, rent to tenants, act on behalf of a homeowner whether they are in the UK or abroad, or know of a house belonging to an elderly or vulnerable person there are some simple things that you could do to help prevent property fraud.
• Familiarise yourself with the latest guidance on identification documents and how to check them if you are involved in this type of work.
• Register your UK property with HM Land Registry and sign-up to its free alert system. More than 50,000 people are signed up to the system, in which you receive email alerts when certain activity occurs on your registered property allowing you to take action such as querying with the Land Registry or reporting.
• Consider registering the property at an alternative postal address. For example, if you rent the property to tenants use a PO Box or the address at which you live full-time for all correspondence relating to that residence.
Click here for advice on keeping your identity safe and how to check for inconsistencies. To better protect your land and property from fraudster visit the Government website. Sign up to HM Land Registry’s property alert here.