For most of us, our property is the most valuable asset we own. However, the propensity for it to be sold and mortgaged to raise money therefore makes it an attractive target for fraudsters. Fraudsters can ‘steal’ property by impersonating the registered owner and either selling or mortgaging the property without their knowledge, disappearing with the proceeds.
Perhaps you are the owner of a property abroad, are currently residing in a care home, let your property or perhaps your property isn’t mortgaged? The properties most vulnerable to mortgage fraud are those which are empty, tenanted and mortgage free.
To combat the threat posed by fraudsters, the Land Registry have introduced a new ‘LL’ restriction for absent owners who feel that that their property may be at risk. This is free of charge for homeowners who do not live at the property. Property owners who live at their property may also apply to enter this restriction, but must pay a fee of £50.
Homeowners who do not live at their property can submit a request for a Form LL restriction to be entered on the register free of charge using form RQ. Owner occupiers can complete form RX1 with the Form LL restriction. The restriction requires a solicitor or conveyancer to certify that they are satisfied that the person selling or mortgaging the property is the true owner.
Property fraud is a very real and increasing problem in the UK and it is essential that you stay alert to it.
Key points to ensure that you don’t become a victim of property fraud:
- register your property (if your property is not registered, consider applying for voluntary first registration)
- keep your contact details up to date for the Land Registry. (If you would like us to do this for you, let us know)
- Consider very carefully submitting a request for a Form LL restriction. (Remember, it is free of charge for homeowners not living at the property and only £50 for homeowners who are in residence.)