Are you registered with the Property Fraud alert system?


The Land Registry has categorised residential landlords as high risk when identifying possible groups vulnerable to property fraud. In an attempt to protect against criminal tenants, the Land Registry is encouraging landlords to join its free Property Alert service.

Forged documents can be used by criminals in an attempt to take ownership of properties they do not own. The Registry has commented that landlords are particularly at risk, with reports of fraudsters attempting to mortgage or sell properties without the owners’ knowledge.

Owners of empty properties, homes without a mortgage and people in the middle of family break-ups or disputes are also among those most at risk.

The Property Alert system allows for the monitoring of up to 10 properties once an individual has registered. Email alerts are triggered and sent when the Land Registry receives certain applications to change the register or for official searches. At this point the person monitoring the property can decide whether the activity is legitimate, suspicious and whether they need further advice.

Examples include banks lodging searches when no mortgage has been applied for. In this instance homeowners could take legal advice, contact Action Fraud or contact the bank directly.

Since it launched more than 29,000 homeowners have signed up for the service. In a recent case two fraudsters acquired £50,000 by selling an empty property that they did not own. Although the fraud was identified before it was registered, the criminals have not been caught to date.

Director of Legal Services at the Land Registry, Alasdair Lewis said: “Property is usually the most valuable asset people own. It can be sold and mortgaged to raise money and can therefore be an attractive target for fraudsters.

“Property fraud is where fraudsters try to ‘steal’ your property, most commonly by pretending to be you and selling or mortgaging your property without your knowledge. Since 2009 Land Registry has stopped the registration of fraudulent transactions against properties worth more than £80 million.

“However no system is ever 100 per cent effective in preventing fraud which is why we have introduced several measures home-owners can take to reduce their risk from property fraud.”

Other measures to protect against property fraud include:

  • Making sure your property is registered. If your property is registered, you may be compensated if you are the innocent victim of fraud.
  • Once registered make sure the Land Registry has up-to-date contact details. The more information they have the easier it will be to reach you if needed.
  • Have a restriction placed on your property. This means a solicitor or conveyancer would need to certify they were satisfied the person selling or mortgaging the home was the true owner.

For more information and to sign up to Property Alert visit the Land Registry on

If you believe you have been the victim of fraud contact the Land Registry on 0300 0067030 or Action Fraud on 0300 1232040.

We are happy to offer half an hour of face-to-face advice, free of charge, to local individuals considering becoming a landlord.

Please telephone and ask to speak to Marcus or Crystal on 01702 445 606.

Martin Ransom is Office Manager at Pace, an independent Southend on Sea Letting Agent.

With nearly 25 years experience in the property industry, Martin is well placed in his role as Branch Manager for Pace.

After joining the business in 2010 Martin took it upon himself to foster excellent customer service among the team and this continues to position Pace as a leader in its field today.