How to Safeguard Your Land and Property?
The people most at risk from fraudulent activities will be those who:
- Are renting out a property (e.g. landlords).
- Have had their identity stolen.
- Are living overseas (temporary or permanent).
- Have a property that has not been mortgaged.
- Own unused land or an empty building.
- Need to register a dwelling with HM Land Registry.
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).
Tracking Changes to the Register
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).
Putting a Restriction on a Title
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).
How to Enter a Restriction (RX1)
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.
Requesting a Restriction by a Company
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.
Are You a Victim of Property Fraud?
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’).
Related Help Guides
- Action Fraud (reporting fraud and cyber crimes).
- Contact Citizens Advice Bureau.
- HM Land Registry Property Alert service.
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.