Property has long been an attractive target for potential fraudsters. At high risk of being targeted are those that are empty, mortgage-free or tenanted. Wards Solicitors have on their website
highlighted a new, free security measure that has been introduced by the Land Registry to help absent owners protect their property.
The Land Registry has published its top tips
for protection against fraud. These include making sure that the property is registered, and maintaining correct contact details on the title register. It is possible to have up to three addresses on the register, including email addresses, and addresses abroad.
For those who feel that they may be at risk of fraud, it is possible to have a restriction placed on the property title. This restriction will work by requiring a certificate by a solicitor or conveyancer that they are satisfied that the person applying to make a change to the register is the true owner, as shown on the title. This would cover such situations as the sale or remortgage of the property.
From 1ST February 2012 there has been no Land Registry fee to place this restriction on the property title for those owners who do not live in the property they wish to protect. This is done using form RQ , available on the Land Registry website and sent to the Birkenhead office.
It is also possible for owner-occupiers to use this tool, at a charge of £50, using form RX1 and sent to the usual Land Registry Office serving the area the property is located in.
This initiative shows another way in which safeguards are being put in place against fraud. Wards Solicitors have been quick in bringing this to the attention of their current and potential clients via their website. This indicates one way in which firms are showing their commitment to protecting clients from fraud, at a time where it is considered to be of high concern to all. Using this type of service as part of their marketing may also be useful as a way for potential clients to differentiate between conveyancing services on something other than a cost basis.