Is property now a good investment?

22nd February 2012

In today’s climate of low interest rates property is a good investment – much better than leaving money in the bank to earn very little. Many people are buying or have bought property to let or to use as a second home  but have they done all that they can to protect themselves against property fraud?
Property is often the most valuable asset that people own which is why it is incredibly attractive to fraudsters. Any property can be sold or mortgaged to raise additional funds but there have been several cases in the last few years where this has been done not by the owner but by a tenant or some other fraudulent third party. The fraudster passes himself off as the property owner and sells or mortgages the property. In some cases the owner lives abroad or is an infrequent visitor to his second home or is in hospital long term or in residential care.
On 1 February 2012 the Land Registry introduced a new form (Form RQ) in an attempt to help to prevent fraud. This form can be used by residential property owners (unless the property is owned by a company), who do not reside at the property, to register what is known as a Form LL restriction against the title to their property. Currently the Land Registry do not charge a fee for placing this restriction on a title. This restriction prevents any transfer or mortgage of the property being registered without a conveyancer’s certificate. With this certificate the conveyancer must confirm that they are satisfied that  the person selling or mortgaging the property is the same person as the registered proprietor.
This new form is being trialled by Land Registry for an initial six months. Malcolm Dawson, Chief Land Registrar has said “It is designed to encourage those who feel their empty or tenanted property might be at risk, to do something to prevent it from being stolen unawares”. Such claims amounted to £2m out of the total £7.3m paid for fraud and forgery claims in 2010.
Owner occupiers can apply to register a Form LL restriction against their property but for them there will be an application fee of £50.00 payable to the Land Registry.
If you would like further information about this please or would like us to register a restriction for you  contact Amanda Edwards on (01543) 267989.