16 March 2022

What is property fraud and how can I avoid it?

The recent ITV thriller, ‘Our House’ has people hooked, but how many of you have been left wondering, ‘Can my spouse really sell my home from under me?’

Unfortunately, the short answer is, yes. If they are prepared to commit property fraud such as Bram (Martin Compston) in ‘Our House’ that is. Property fraud is not just a creation of fiction for primetime TV. We’re seeing more and more instances of property fraud being reported in the press.

What is property fraud?

Property fraud (sometimes called property title fraud) occurs when a fraudster pretends to be a party in a property transaction. That could be either the legal owner, the buyer, the lender, or the solicitor.

Am I at risk of property title fraud?
You are more at risk of being a victim of property fraud if:

  • You have had your identity stolen in the past

  • You own a buy to let property

  • You own property in the UK but live overseas.

  • The property is left empty

  • The property is mortgage free

  • The property is not registered with the Land Registry

How can I avoid property title fraud?

There are some things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Check if your property is already registered on the Land Registry (there’s a small charge), and if it’s not you can register it yourself

  • Sign up for Land Registry property alerts

  • Place a restriction on the title held with the Land Registry

I’m a victim of property fraud, what are my next steps?

If you’re concerned and think you might be a victim of property fraud or you would like assistance with any of the above, please contact residential property specialist Caroline Fletcher-Shaw.

Any questions?

Contact Caroline at caroline.shaw@wilkinchapman.co.uk to discuss

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