I act for a client who owns two buy-to-let residential properties. Given the growth of conveyancing fraud in recent years, what advice can I give to try and protect my client from becoming a victim of fraud?
There are various ways of approaching this. For example, you could suggest to your client that you lodge a restriction against each of his buy-to-let properties with Land Registry using Form RQ - A request for a restriction by an owner not living at the property. No fee is payable and if the application is successful, you will receive a notice of registration of a counter-fraud restriction from Land Registry.
You may also wish to suggest that your client signs up for the Land Registry Property Alert Service where up to 10 properties can be registered. This is free of charge and will ensure that your client is notified by email if any activity occurs on any of his properties. For further information, please telephone the property alert team on 0300 006 0478 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
These options are not mutually exclusive and your client should consider both in order to gain maximum fraud protection. Taking these precautions will not guarantee the prevention of registered title fraud. However, it will reduce the risk as it will act as a warning to anyone dealing with the property that there maybe a risk of fraud.
For further guidance, please see Land Registry Practice Guide 17 - How to safeguard against property fraud.
This column is compiled by the Law Society’s Practice Advice Service, telephone 020 7320 5675. Comments relating to the questions should be sent to Mrs. Anjali Mouelhi, Solicitor Technical Lead, The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.