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. This makes it easy enough to enlist family members to get around this restriction.

Unregistered properties

There is also more risk if a property is not registered. 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

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.

How can we help?

Are you looking to create or expand your property portfolio? Our experienced accountants can help you assess your financial situation Contact us on 01444 716946 or email us here.