So what could actually happen? How about a fraudster taking mortgage against your property and yourself not being able to remove mortgage charge – and having to repay it?
The fraud is nothing new but if you do not live in the property and the Register is not showing the correct address you could become a target for this fraud. The fraudster transfers the property into their own name and then takes the mortgage against it. Obviously, the fraudster disappears with the cash and the true owner has to deal with the fraud.
The situation described above is exactly what happened in the case Barclays Bank plc v Guy 2008. Mr Guy was able to change the ownership back into his name BUT was not able to remove the mortgage charge! Without going into too many legal details, the court decided that the Bank relied on the information registered with Land Registry and as such could relied on it as a proof of ownership.
As a side note, if the fraudsters would sell the property to a third party, that transaction would stand.
There are things you can do to protect yourself from the fraud. The first obvious one is to make sure that HM Land Registry has your correct address registered for you. This will make it more difficult for the fraudsters. Also, you can put restriction in place so that Land Registry will make changes to the register only if a solicitor or other professional conveyance certifies that they have checked the identity of the person who has signed the deed.
Please have a look at the Land Registry page with helpful information.