The Metropolitan Police have reported on a new and complex property theft scam which is targeted at landlords who use agents. The starting point is the "identity theft" of a landlord. The fraudsters then email other letting agents in a bid to con them into believing they own the property. Through several emails, the fraudsters build up a relationship with the letting agency which, crucially, also has a sales division. After a short period, they inform the agent that they wish to sell the property or want to raise a mortgage on it.
Agents and landlords are being urged to tighten their security.
In a clear acknowlegement of the growing problem, the Land Registry has dropped it's charge to Landlords who wish to up-date and tighten their ownership details. The Land Registry has had to make a number of settlement payments to victims of property theft in recent years. Sadly, this problem is on-going despite efforts to raise awareness, including a 2011 Land Registry report which revealed that, since 2006, £26million compensation had been paid. In a move to close the stable door before too many horses have bolted, they have agreed that absent owners, landlords, can increase security on their property without incurring further costs.
From their website............ "We have launched an additional security measure aimed at owners who do not live at the registered property. This will initially be trialled for six months. Under this measure you or your conveyancer can make a request using our Form RQ asking the registrar to enter a restriction, free of charge."
The link above will give further information and has all the requisite forms. At College and County, we strongly advise you to take up this option.