Late last year I wrote a blog post on how to stop your house being stolen or your Property Title re-registered
What five things can you do to stop your house being stolen?
This was prompted following some alarming media coverage about two men who had their houses stolen. Here is the link to the original post with more detail
I am writing about this again because I had a personal experience. Not quite so dramatic, but I mention it at the end of this Blog post.
There are 2 facts that these two original stories have in common.
Both properties were not occupied by the owners. One was empty, the other was meant to have been let out.
It appears that both thefts took place using fake Identity.
And as an additional aside, the Police did not want to get involved, saying it was a ‘civil’ not criminal matter.
What are the 5 things you can do to prevent house theft?
Not only do you need to be aware of the danger of Identity theft, but also the way in which house-theft can take place. There are some simple and straightforward preventative steps you can take. These protect your property and de-risk the situation for you.
- Ensure Land Registry has the latest up-to-date address for you.
- Register for the Property Alerts. These are sent to the owner if there is any activity on the property Title. They do work and are free
- Put a restriction on the Title to help prevent a fraudulent sale. This is less straight forward but you can do it yourself without using a lawyer. Completing the RX1 form is where to start, but it will take time to choose which restriction. And therefore which additional form applies to your particular situation This is not part of the standard conveyancing process in England and Wales. So if you want your solicitor to do this you will have to specifically request it.
- Having a mortgage on the house provides an additional layer of security because your lender will take a charge on the property.
- Do strong tenant checks and choose a good Letting or Managing Agent.
My Personal Property Title experience Update
I recently received a Land Registry Alert. An unknown Legal Firm lodged an application to record a ‘Depositary First Lease’ against the Title of our Home.
This was alarming as it could have meant any number of things. Originally it was difficult to get through to Land Registry to query this. The first emailed response wasn’t helpful. A case of ‘Computer say no’
Contacting the original Legal Firm didn’t help. They work based on Postcodes and because our Home is not on their system as a paying ‘client’ there was no motivation for them to help.
Land Registry and Property Titles
I eventually got through to a more helpful Land Registry call handler, who departed from his strict job description. He did a bit of digging. He found that it appeared the legal firm had made an error in the Title number. It had intended it for a property in Sheffield. They had tried the same Title Deposition twice!
I am shocked at the number of careless mistakes that Legal Firms make. To them they are minor errors, but to home owners they can cause much distress and inconvenience. The offending Legal firm couldn’t even follow through properly, which would have disclosed it was their mistake after all!
It goes to show it is best to keep on top of your ‘Title’. Because even if Land Registry activity is not as pernicious as house theft, it could cause a problem if you are in a hurry to sell.
I am a landlord, ‘prudent’ property investor and developer. I help others to invest ‘prudently’ either with a bespoke Property Finding service or in a supportive mentoring capacity. If you’d like help or to find out more do message me firstname.lastname@example.org.
My business Property Venture® is an award-winning, Boutique property consultancy focusing on helping time-strapped professionals and expats who don’t have the local presence, or capacity, to acquire the ‘right’ properties for them.Tags: Buy to let, home, investment property