Question: I have just rented out our property as I am moving abroad for a couple of years. My letting agent mentioned in passing that I should protect my property by using the service offered by the Land Registry. What does she mean as my property already has registered title and anyhow why do I need to protect it?
Answer: Property fraud occurs when criminals pretend to be the owner of a property and try to sell or mortgage that property without the consent or knowledge of the owner.
Some properties are more vulnerable to fraud than others, such as properties which are not registered with HM Land Registry or are not mortgaged or are unoccupied or tenanted.
Your property has registered title so the letting agent will be referring to Property Alert, a free property monitoring service offered by HM Land Registry.
Sign up for the Property Alert service and you will receive email alerts when certain activity occurs in relation to your property.
If a fraudster pretended to be you and tried to take your identity and then tried to sell your property or take out a new mortgage secured on your property you would receive email notification from HM Land Registry of the application.
As you had not made the application you would know it was fraudulent and could take the action necessary to prevent the fraud.
Do also provide HM Land Registry with your up to date contact details. They will accept three addresses for you, one of which can be an address abroad and an email address.
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.