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Protect your home from property fraud

Your property is probably the most valuable asset you own. That's why it's important you do whatever you can to protect it from the risk of fraud.

Fraudsters can and do target properties for fraud; “stealing” your home by taking the legal title to it. This is most commonly done by pretending to be you and either selling or mortgaging your home.

There is an increased risk of fraud when:

  • a property is empty or has been bought to let
  • an owner is spending time abroad or absent
  • the owner is infirm or in a nursing or care home
  • a relationship breaks down
  • a property has no mortgage.

You can help to make sure that you do not become a victim of property fraud by:

    How to request or apply for a restriction to help prevent forgery:

    Is your property registered?

    About 20 per cent of land in England and Wales remains unregistered. Firstly you should make sure that your property is registered. If you then become an innocent victim of fraud and suffer a financial loss as a consequence, you may be compensated.

    Are your contact details up to date?

    If your property is registered, you should make sure the contact details we hold for you are up to date.

    When we receive an application regarding your property, we may write to you about it. If your details are not up to date, you may not receive our letter or email.

    You can provide us with three different addresses, including an email address and an address abroad. Download and complete the following form to add an address or update your existing contact details. There is no charge for this service.

    Find out where to send your applications.

    If we receive an application to change your contact details we will send a letter to both your old and new addresses to check that the application is genuine.

    Additional security for owners not living at the registered property (form RQ)

    For owners who do not live at the registered property, we have introduced an additional security measure.

    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.

    This restriction means we will not register a dealing with your property, for example a transfer or a mortgage, unless a solicitor or other professional conveyancer certifies that they have checked the identity of the person who has signed the deed. This could help to prevent a fraudster forging a signature.

    Form RQ lets you make a request for a restriction to be placed in the register of the title to your property. Simply print off the form and complete it. Then send it to the address shown on the form. A separate form must be used for each registered property.

    Find out more about the process and what a restriction means:

    Please visit our questions and answers for form RQ before completing your application.

    Download form RQ

    Find out where to send your applications

    Please do not send form RQ to us with any other type of application.

    If you qualify but have made a previous application for a restriction using Form RX1 and paid a fee then you can request a refund of your fee, provided:

    • you made the RX1 application on or after 1 February 2012 and
    • you, or at least one of the other owners do not live at the property.

    Additional security for companies with registered property - form RQ(Co)

    We have introduced an additional security measure for companies with registered property.

    Under this free service you can make a request using a form RQ(Co) to enter a counter-fraud restriction on up to three registered titles to your property.

    The restriction is designed to help safeguard against forgery, particularly the prevention of a fraudster forging a signature. Once registered, it requires a solicitor (or other professional conveyancer) to certify that they are satisfied the company transferring or mortgaging the property is the same company as the owner before any new sale, lease or mortgage is registered. They must also certify that they have taken reasonable steps to establish that anyone who executed the deed on behalf of the company held the stated office (i.e. director, secretary or manager) at the time of execution.

    Download form RQ(Co)

    Please visit our questions and answers for form RQ(Co) before completing your application.

    To request the counter-fraud restriction simply complete the form RQ(Co) and send it to us by either:

    Email rq-request@landregistry.gsi.gov.uk.

    Post
    Citizen Centre – RQ(Co)
    Land Registry Wales Office
    Tŷ Cwm Tawe
    Phoenix Way
    Llansamlet
    Swansea
    SA7 9FQ

    Document Exchange (DX) system
    Citizen Centre – RQ(Co)
    Land Registry Wales Office
    DX No: 82800
    Swansea (2)

    Please do not send form RQ(Co) to us with any other type of application.

    To find out more about the counter-fraud process and what a restriction means see:

    If you qualify but have made a previous application for a restriction using Form RX1 and paid a fee then you can request a refund of your fee, provided you made the RX1 application after 12 May 2014 (being the launch date of the RQ(CO) service).

    Additional security for owner occupiers (people who live in their home) of a registered property (form RX1)

    Owner occupiers who do not qualify to request a restriction using form RQ can still apply for restriction in their register but have to apply using form RX1. We have created a special restriction for those who believe they may be at risk. 

    Download form RX1 - Application to enter a restriction (Word, 94.5KB)

    This Form LL restriction makes sure that we will not register a sale or a mortgage, unless a solicitor or other conveyancer has certified that the person who has signed the deed is the registered owner. This could help to prevent a fraudster forging a signature. There is a £40 fee for this service.

    The wording of a restriction is very important and we recommend that you get advice from your solicitor or conveyancer if you wish to protect your property in this way.

    Public Guide 17 - How to safeguard against property fraud provides more information on the methods of protection available for home-owners.

    Find out where to send your applications

    What to do if you think that you have already
    been the victim of property fraud

    • Contact a solicitor or a Citizens Advice Bureau and Action Fraud.
    • Get professional advice if you are not sure what to do.
    • Contact our property fraud line on 0300 006 7030 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm).

    What is Land Registry doing to reduce the risk of property fraud?

    As part of our anti-fraud strategy, we have put measures in place to reduce the risk of property fraud. These measures are kept confidential to ensure security and are continuously reviewed.

    We have a dedicated fraud team and work closely with the police and other agencies to reduce the risk of property fraud. Between September 2009 and January 2014 we stopped 145 fraudulent applications on properties worth over £62 million.

     
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