Fraudulent Land Registry changes and dishonest landlord practices are responsible for the loss of millions on UK properties each year.
The information in this help guide explains how to protect a home, a plot of land, and other types of properties, against fraudsters in the United Kingdom.
The people most at risk from fraudulent activities will be those who:
There are several ways to protect your property or land from being mortgaged or sold fraudulently (e.g. without your knowledge or permission).
As a rule, people who bought or mortgaged a property after 1998 will have it registered. Hence, you can search for property information from HM Land Registry to check.
Furthermore, you can also monitor and track certain changes to the register. The free facility allows you to place a restriction on the title in situations where there are risks of being scammed.
Note: A help guide explaining how to protect land and property from fraud and identity theft is also available in Welsh language (Gwarchod eich tir a'ch eiddo rhag twyll).
HM Land Registry (HMLR) offers a free online service that sends out a property alert if it detects any significant or underhanded activity (see below).
After signing up, you would be alerted if someone is applying to change details about your registered property. A typical example would be someone using criminal practices to get a mortgage.
Here's how it works:
It is free to join and you would get alerts for a maximum of ten (10) properties. But, the service does not block the changes by any automatic process.
The alert email tells you who to contact. Hence, the prompts mean you would be able to take appropriate action yourself.
Important: After registering land or property in England, you would need to notify HM Land Registry about any incorrect information (e.g. a change of contact details).
HM Land Registry will not register a sale or a mortgage on your property to a fraudster if you put a restriction on your title.
Doing so means a conveyancer or a solicitor would first need to certify who made the actual application (e.g. the registered owner).
As a rule, conveyancers or solicitors will make a charge for providing a certificate (e.g. if having a restriction on your property requires one).
HM Land Registry
PO Box 74
Note: Use application form RQ to request a restriction by an owner who is not living at the property (e.g. if you are not living there). This service is free of charge.
As a business owner, you should use application form RQ(Co) to request a restriction by a company that owns a property.
Fill in the application and then send it to the address written on the form. HMLR does not make any charges for this service.
It is important to contact HM Land Registry property fraud team without delay if you believe you are a property fraud victim (sometimes called 'house stealing' or 'deed fraud').
HM Land Registry Property Fraud Team
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0300 006 7030
Monday to Friday: 8am to midday and 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Call charges in the United Kingdom
Note: The short video presented by HM Land Registry explains more about property fraud and who is most at risk of having land or property stolen by a fraudster.
Protecting Property and Land from Fraud in the United Kingdom