Landlords in England and Wales might not be aware, but there is a free property alert service that monitors any significant activity on let property.

There is greater risk of a property being fraudulently sold or mortgaged if the landlord lives overseas, the property is empty or if there is no mortgage.

Signing up for a property alert will not automatically block any changes to the property register, but it will act as a warning when something changes, such as a new mortgage being taken out against the property.

Although property fraud is rare, HM Land Registry has prevented more than £100 million of fraud over the past five years.

Set-up process

An important first point is that a property can only be monitored if it is already registered with HM Land Registry, which may not be the case if acquired prior to 1990 and not mortgaged since then. A search of English and Welsh property can be made here.

For registered property, it is simply a matter of:

  • Creating a property alert account; and
  • Adding the properties to be monitored.

Up to ten properties can be monitored. However, you don’t need to own a property to monitor it, so it is easy enough to enlist family members to get around this restriction.

Unregistered properties

There is also more risk if a property is not registered, so it is recommended that an application be made to have such property registered. Although registration can be done by a landlord, many may prefer to use the services of a solicitor or conveyancer.

Restriction on title

Going a step further, putting a restriction on a property’s title will prevent a sale or mortgage being registered unless certified by a solicitor or conveyancer. The request itself is free for landlords, although a fee will likely be payable should a certificate be required.

The starting point for setting up a property alert, along with some guidance, can be found here.

If you would like to know more or need help, please get in touch with one of our experts.