How do I protect my property from fraud? How do I set up a property alert?

This is a freeview 'At a glance' guide to protecting property from fraud.

At a glance

The Land Registry is encouraging people to set up a property alert in order to warn them if someone attempts to alter key details of their property online.

  • Scammers attempt to transfer your property into their name using false documents, or stolen identities, in some cases, even whilst you are living there.
  • The scammers then raise mortgages against, or sell, your property without you knowing.
  • Victims can find that they have to leave their home as there is nothing that can be done to get the property back.
  • Victims are left with having to claim compensation from the Land Registry to replace their home.

The scam typically targets homes that are:

  • Mortgage-free.
  • Empty.
  • Not registered on the Land Registry (normally where the property is mortgage-free and has not changed hands since 1998).
  • Where the owner lives elsewhere, e.g. buy-to-lets.

These are the properties where owners are less likely to notice that fraudulent documents have been filed at the Land Registry.

Whilst the Land Registry have been able to stop some cases where fraudulent documents have been submitted, not all cases are stopped, so it is important to help protect yourself against property theft.

To protect yourself against the risk of property fraud, you should consider the following:

  • Register your property on the Land Registry if it is not already registered.
  • Sign up for the free Land Registry Property Alert service. You can get alerts for up to 10 properties, meaning you can help protect vulnerable family or friends as well as yourself.
  • Put a restriction on your title: this will stop the Land Registry from registering any sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies that the application was made by you. This restriction:
    • Costs £40 if you live at the property.
    • Is free where you do not live at the property but own it privately.
    • Is free if a company owns the property.

This simple process can help avoid you or someone you know from being the victim of property fraud. Tell your friends, family, neighbours, and clients.

External links guidance:

Land Registry:

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