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Property Fraud

The problem of Property Fraud

Land and buildings are valuable assets and can be targeted by fraudsters.

The Land Registry, solicitors and mortgage lenders all have safeguards in place to minimise the risk of a fraud being successful. Property owners can also play a part in helping to prevent fraud and to protect their ownership.

Anyone owning an interest in property can be the victim of property fraud, but there are some situations where this is more likely, such as:-

• Relationship break downs
• Property left empty
• Absent owners i.e. abroad or in prison
• Where the owner is infirm or in a home
• Where the property no longer has a mortgage
• Tenanted property
• Your identity has been stolen
• The property isn’t registered with the Land Registry

If you are in any of these situations, or you are otherwise concerned that you may become the victim of property fraud, seek advice from a solicitor and consider taking the action mentioned in this guide.

What can you do to help prevent property fraud?

There are a number of things you can do to help prevent fraud or forgery with respect to your property interests.

Firstly, start by checking whether your property is registered with the Land Registry. If you bought or mortgaged the property since 1998 it should be. You can check the register here: https://www.gov.uk/registering-land-or-property-with-land-registry

• Register your property with Land Registry. This can be done by voluntary first registration if your property is not already registered. There is a fee for this.
• Keep your details in the register up to date. If you change your name or address ensure that you notify the Land Registry. There is no fee for this. More information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/updating-registered-owners-contact-address
• Track changes to your registered title. You can sign up for property alerts here: www.gov.uk/property-alert
• Put a restriction on your title. You can prevent the Land Registry from registering a fraudulent sale or mortgage on your property by registering a restriction requiring that any such sale or mortgage must be certified by a solicitor or qualified Conveyancer as being by you. You can do this here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/restriction-by-owner-not-living-at-property-request-registration-rq

• If you are living at your property and want to place a restriction it will cost you £40 and you can do this here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/enter-a-restriction-registration-rx1
• If you have a property registered in a company name you can ask for a restriction to be placed on the property for free here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/restriction-by-company-request-registration-rqco
• Be careful what you sign. If you have been asked to sign a document and you are not sure what it is you’ve been asked to sign, or what its legal effect might be, get professional advice from a solicitor.


Victims Of Property Fraud

If you think that you have already been the victim of property fraud Contact Land Registry immediately:


If you think that you have already been the victim of property fraud Contact Land Registry immediately:

Contact Land Registry property fraud line if you think you’re the victim of property fraud.

Land Registry property fraud line

Telephone: 0300 006 7030
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm

If you are worried that you have been the victim of property fraud you should immediately seek legal advice from a solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau and contact the police.

It is possible that if an attempt is made to defraud you of your property, the property or your details may also be used in other fraudulent activity, such as identify fraud or credit card fraud.

You may want to consider making a protective registration of your credit details with Action Fraud. This is a not-for-profit anti-fraud organization. The details of this service may be obtained here: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud

More property fraud advice is available from www.gov.uk/propertyfraud