Question: We have heard about property fraud and are worried about my elderly aunt, who seems very vulnerable. She lives alone since her husband died and has no family now apart from us. She loves chatting to people and is trusting of just about everyone — we can imagine someone selling her house or mortgaging it without her realising.
Are we right in thinking we may be able to do something through the Land Registry to protect her property?
Answer: There are options available to you. As the registered proprietor of her home your aunt’s name and address will appear in the Land Registry Proprietorship Register under the title number that relates to her property.
When serving any notices relating to the property, the Land Registry will use that address. It is possible to register three addresses for each registered property, one of which may be an email address.
Your aunt could give your address or email address so that you would receive and be aware of notices sent to her by the Land Registry.
She could also sign up to the Land Registry’s Property Alert service.
This free monitoring service will ensure she is alerted if anyone tries to have any dealings with her property, for example, if there is any attempt to mortgage it. You or your aunt could then take appropriate action.
She could also apply to have a restriction on her home preventing the Land Registry from registering a sale or mortgage against it without a solicitor or conveyancer signing a certificate to confirm the application was made by her as the registered proprietor.
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.
If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. Questions cannot be answered individually, but we will try to feature them here.
Fiona McNulty is a solicitor specialising in residential property.