This service helps people to detect fraudulent activity on their property by sending them email alerts when there is certain activity on the property being monitored, such as a mortgage being taken out against it. The recipient can then decide whether they think the activity is suspicious and act quickly if so. The alert email tells them who to contact should they be concerned. The following notes are part of a recent announcement on this issue on the gov.uk website.
Alasdair Lewis, Director of Legal Services, said:
Property is usually our most valuable asset so it’s important to protect it from the ever-increasing risk of fraud. Land Registry is doing all it can to detect and prevent fraud but no system can be 100 per cent fraud-proof, which is why we urge people to follow our advice about protecting themselves from property fraud, including signing up for Property Alert.
Property fraud is where fraudsters try to “steal” a property, most commonly by stealing the homeowner’s identity and selling or mortgaging the property without their knowledge. They then disappear with the money leaving the true owner to deal with the consequences.
Since 2009, Land Registry has stopped fraud on properties worth more than £92 million.
How Property Alert works
You can monitor up to 10 registered properties in England and Wales. You will receive email alerts when there is certain activity on the properties you are monitoring, such as an application to change the ownership details.
Although Property Alert won’t automatically stop fraud from happening, it’s a useful early warning of suspicious activity which the home-owner can investigate if they are suspicious.
Example of how Property Alert helped to prevent a fraud
A landlord was renting out a property in England while he lived overseas. He was aware that absent landlords are more at risk of property fraud and signed up to our free Property Alert service. When he received an alert email informing him of a mortgage application being made against his property worth over £300,000, he contacted our property fraud line immediately as he wasn’t expecting this. Using this intelligence, we investigated and discovered the fraud. We then prevented the application from being registered. His contact details were out of date, so we advised him to update them, which he did so that if we need to contact him in the future he will receive our emails or letters.
Most at risk
You’re more at risk if your property:
- is rented out
- is empty
- is mortgage-free
- isn’t registered with Land Registry
Other fraud protection measures
To help protect yourself against property fraud, make sure:
- your property is registered. If you become an innocent victim of fraud and suffer financial loss as a consequence, you may be compensated. Properties most likely to be unregistered are those that haven’t changed hands or been mortgaged since 1990
- Land Registry has up-to-date contact details so we can reach you easily. You can have up to three addresses in the register including an email address and/or an address abroad
You can find out more about this service at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/property-alert