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Property and title fraud targeted by Law Society and HM Land Registry

HM Land Registry and the Law Society have released a joint note on property and title fraud. The document highlights examples and key warning signs of fraud.

High profile cases and recorded incidents of fraud are increasing with perpetrators continuing to target real estate and finance transactions. HM Land Registry is also concerned with the increase in fraudulent registrations of property, often entailing forged identity documents.

The note is of particular use to the legal profession and property agents, the latter benefiting from the identification of particular areas of risk.

The note does not go into detail on what the solicitor of a prospective buyer should ask of the seller’s solicitor in relation to the seller’s identity and the checks that the solicitor carried out. The Law Society and HM Land Registry are undoubtedly waiting to formalise this after the issue is resolved by the Court of Appeal next year.[1] For now, the 2010 joint HM Land Registry and Law Society note should be your point of reference on this particular issue.

The new HM Land Registry and Law Society note can be found here.

[1] The Court will hear an appeal in the Dreamvar case. Other interesting recent cases relating to property fraud in the last 12 months include Purrunsing v A’Court [2016], P&P Property Limited v Owen White & Catlin [2016] and Dreamvar (UK) Ltd v Mishcon de Reya and Mary Monson Solicitors Ltd [2016].

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