Protecting Property – Title Theft
Protecting property title theft will become increasingly important over time. In the old days title deeds were confidential documents. You could only see them with permission from the owner. Now everything has gone online. You can log on to Land registry, obtain title deeds without the title owners even knowing that you have their information. The old paper documents have now been replaced by electronic title deeds.
Since 1990 land registry has made title deeds public information and since then title theft has increased steadily. The problem has gotten worse since 13th October 2003 when Land and Charge certificates were abolished. Impostors now do not have to provide certificates as proof of ownership, making it easier for them to commit fraud. Making protecting property title theft increasingly important. Since 2012 £59m of claims, in respect to fraudulent deeds, were made against land registry of which they paid out £31m. You can read more here.
Who is venerable to Title theft?
- Those people who own property outright i.e. do not have a mortgage.
- 1 above and those that do not occupy their properties are most at risk
- 1 above and even those that occupy their properties can be at risk
Who suffers the loss?
Registered owners may be able to claim compensation from land registry. The compensation will be reduced if the owner did not take reasonable steps to protect themselves. If the land has not been sold then land registry can correct the register. If however your property has been sold to an innocent third party then restoring title may not be possible. If a loan has been secured against your property then the lender has the right to crystallise their charge to recover its monies. So effectively you lose your property. Protecting property against title theft is essential if you own unencumbered property.
Protecting property title theft – what to do?
- Check the Land registry regularly to make sure there are no changes without your consent.
- Take out land title insurance. Click here to see a list of providers. We do not recommend any of the insurers, you should do your own research and obtain professional advice.
- Put a restriction on your unencumbered property. Click here to download the from.
- You can get more advice from this government link.
Finance Equation Ltd are property accountants and property tax specialists. This article has been written to help our present and future clients protect their property wealth. Click here to find out more about our property tax services.