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The Growing Problem of Property Fraud

Carole FoxA East Midlands property law expert has welcomed a move that will make it even easier for homeowners to protect themselves against the growing problem of property fraud.

The Land Registry has announced that it is axing the fee for those who own a home, but do not live in it, to have a restriction placed on the property to make it harder for fraudsters to target.

Carole Fox, head of residential property at law firm Rothera Dowson, believes this will encourage more people to protect themselves:

“Property fraud is an increasing problem, particularly the use of ID fraud to enable criminals to both sell and mortgage properties that they don’t own. Landlords who own and let a property, without actually spending any time there themselves, tend to be most at risk.

“One of the best forms of protection is to have a restriction entered on the property via the Land Registry. This basically means that a solicitor or conveyancer needs to certify they are satisfied that the person selling or mortgaging the property is the true owner, helping to prevent forgery.

“The fact that this is now free of charge for non-occupying owners is great news and will hopefully result in more people taking advantage of it. Owner-occupiers can get a restriction too but have to pay a small fee. It’s certainly worth doing to avoid potential risks.”

Other steps to avoid property fraud include:

  • Ensure that properties are registered with the Land Registry in order to receive compensation if you become an innocent victim of property fraud.
  • Keep contact details up-to-date once registered so that you can be easily contacted in the event of a problem.
  • Remember that you can have up to three addresses on the register, including email addresses and an address abroad. The more information that is provided, the easier it is for you to be alerted about any issues.

For further residential property legal advice from Rothera Dowson, visit www.rotheradowson.co.uk or call 0800 124 4012.

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