If you’re a buy-to-let landlord you are no doubt aware of the increasing risk of money laundering and property fraud. However you may not be aware of which properties and property owners are most at risk.
Buy to let properties are particularly susceptible, as tenants; or those who have access to tenants; are able to re-direct mail to perpetrate the fraud. There are extra steps that you can take however, to help reduce any threat.
Keep details up to date with Land Registry
First, you need to ensure that the Land Registry has contact details for you and that these details are kept up to date. The Land Registry will allow for you to register three contact addresses, including an email address, which we would recommend.
Register a restriction with the Land Registry
Secondly, for a reduced fee of £150.00 plus VAT (our usual fee is currently £225.00 plus VAT) we are able to register a restriction at the Land Registry.
A restriction is basically a red flag or warning to a Conveyancer which will need to be complied with before the Land Registry will consider registering any charge or change of ownership.
There are two different restrictions that you are able to place on the register:
The first is a standard restriction which will stop registration of a change in ownership or new charge unless a certificate is given by a conveyancer confirming that the person who signed the transfer or mortgage deed is the same person who owns the property.
If submitted with your initial application for registration of your ownership this restriction is free and, whilst it goes some way towards helping to protect against fraud, it does not stop someone impersonating a conveyancer and giving the certificate fraudulently.
Non Standard Restriction
The second type of restriction reduces the risk of fraud further. We are able to register a non-standard restriction which would name Burnett Barker as the solicitors who need to give the certificate, giving you peace of mind that your property is being looked after.
The Land Registry charge a fee of £45.00 to register this restriction.
Register with the free Property Alert Service
Finally, take advantage of the free service offered by the Land Registry called Property Alert.
This enables you to monitor certain activity at the Land Registry that relates to your property, e.g. an official search of the register. The service will email you to alert you of the activity – giving you notice of potentially fraudulent transactions.
For more details see www.gov.uk/property-alert.