Vicars house stolen through property fraud
This week the BBC reported how a vicar returned from working away to find someone else living in his house and that he was no longer the legal owner.
This is how mortgage free or empty properties fraud works.
Fraudsters target properties to secure mortgages against them. Listed below are some types of properties or people that are most vulnerable to this:
· Mortgage free properties
· Vacant properties
· Properties not registered on the Land Registry (normally where the property is mortgage free).
· Where the owner lives elsewhere, for example buy-to-lets or holiday homes
Scammers will attempt to transfer the property into their own name by falsifying various documents, using stolen identities etc. They’ll then raise money against the property leaving victims with huge debts and at risk of losing their home.
You can protect your property by taking a number of steps:
1. Register your property on the Land Registry if it is not already registered.
2. Sign up for the free Land Registry Property Alert Service. You can get alerts for up to 10 properties, meaning you can help protect vulnerable family or friends as well as yourself.
3. Put a restriction on your title: this will stop the Land Registry registering any sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyancer or solicitor certifies that the application was made by you. This restriction:
· Costs £40 if you live at the property
· Is free if you do not live at the property but you own it privately
· Is free if a company owns the property.
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