In the third instalment of our articles relating to property fraud, B P Collins’ property team look at first registrations.
You may be more at risk of your property being fraudulently sold or mortgaged if your property is not registered at the Land Registry. The Land Registry has, for some time, required all land or property to be registered when it is bought or mortgaged However if you have owned your property since before 1990 and have not taken out a mortgage against it since then, it may not be registered.
The advantages of registering your property from a fraud perspective are:
- you can sign up to the free Land Registry Property Alert service. This allows you to monitor a registered property and receive email alerts when there is certain activity on the property you are monitoring. Whilst this system will not prevent fraud from happening, it will at least enable you to act quickly if you are alerted to suspicious activity and potentially prevent a fraudulent transaction from being registered;
- you will be able to put a restriction on your title to prevent the Land Registry from registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless a solicitor certifies that the application was made by you; and
- if you become an innocent victim of fraud or suffer financial loss in relation to a registered property, you may be able to claim compensation.
In addition to minimising the risk of property fraud, there are other reasons to register your property at the Land Registry:
- voluntary registration is cheaper. For example, if your property is worth between £500,001 and £1,000,000, the voluntary registration fee is £495 rather than £655;
- it should be more straightforward to sell your property as a buyer will not need to investigate the previous ownership. They don’t need to worry about old conveyances, missing documents and poor plans, which can lead to delays in completing your sale, as any issues will have been flushed out during the registration process;
- currently, there are substantial delays at the Land Registry in dealing with applications. By making your application well in advance of wishing to sell your property, you may avoid delays later down the line and make the property more attractive to a buyer;
- you will not need to worry about storing deeds once your property is registered. Everything is stored electronically at the Land Registry and you can quickly prove title to a property;
- if your property is not registered, the Land Registry cannot trace you to tell you about anyone trying to claim rights over your property; and
- on death, a solicitor can search against a specific name at the Land Registry to see what properties are owned by or mortgaged to that person.
If you would like to register your property or are not sure whether your property is already registered, please get in touch with B P Collins’ property team on 01753 889995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more free advice articles straight to your inbox, please get in touch at email@example.com.