The Land Registry have reported a growing number of instances where fraudsters have sought to sell or mortgage someone else's property by fraudulent transaction or forgery and to then pocket the sale or mortgage proceeds. In many of these cases no solicitors are instructed.
The Land Registry says that since September 2009 the Registry has prevented frauds in over 110 applications lodged with them involving property to a total value of £47m.
Equally it is known that several fraudulent transactions have evaded the Land Registry's security systems.
These fraudulent transactions often involve properties with an absent owner, such as empty properties or where the owner is abroad or in a care home.
Property owners are therefore being encouraged to enter a restriction on the Land Register. The restriction will prevent any transaction from being completed unless a solicitor has first certified from evidence produced to him that the signatory of any deed is indeed the true owner of the property.
If the issue of possible fraud is a concern to you, particularly if you or a family member own an empty property or believe you may be the victim of identity theft then please contact the specialist property department of QualitySolicitors Bradbury Roberts & Raby who will be able to advice you further and if appropriate register the required Land Registry restriction on your behalf.