Hand picking up hotel - Property Alert

In response to customer feedback, we’ve updated our Property Alert service to allow people to monitor up to 10 properties – an increase from the previous maximum of three. Product owner Tracey Salvin said: “We have been collating feedback on the service since we trialled it and there were repeated requests to increase the number of properties people could monitor, such as from landlords who rent out several properties and who fall into the higher risk category of being victims of property fraud.”

About Property Alert

Following a successful trial, we launched the free Property Alert service in March 2014 to help people detect potentially fraudulent activity on their property sooner. The service has since gone on to win a Real IT award. Once you have registered for the service and added the properties you wish to monitor, you will receive an e-mail alert when HM Land Registry receives an application to change the register as well as for official searches. You can then judge whether or not the activity is suspicious and if you should seek further advice. For example, if you receive an alert that a bank has lodged a search on your property but you haven’t applied for a mortgage, you may want to seek legal advice, contact Action Fraud, or contact the bank in question to tell them you are the owner and have not applied for a mortgage. Investigations into the authenticity of the mortgage application can then begin much earlier in the process.

Example of someone who has signed up for Property Alert

When Mrs P took a job hundreds of miles away, she left her property empty for a few years. In that time, she had some building work done on the property and neighbours kindly visited the house regularly to check everything was okay, forward any post and adjust the heating during warm and cold spells. When Mrs P received some forwarded letters addressed to a stranger she became concerned. The letters turned out to be court summons relating to vehicle offences that Mrs P knew nothing about. She alerted the police immediately as she was concerned that someone was using her address under false pretences, possibly registering a vehicle there to avoid receiving penalties. The police recorded all of the details and evidence. Luckily, Mrs P hasn’t received any more mail addressed to the stranger since, but she isn’t taking any chances. “I know that an empty property is more likely to be at risk of property fraud, so I thought it best to register for HM Land Registry’s Property Alert service. This will let me know if there is some activity on my property I wasn’t expecting so I can look into it sooner.”

Sign up for Property Alert

You’ll need to set up an online account with HM Land Registry, which is free.

You’ll be able to monitor up to ten properties. Email alerts are sent when official searches and applications are received against a monitored property

If you aren’t online, you can still use the service. Call the Property Alert team on 0800 678 1678

Property fraud

Properties most likely to be at risk from fraud are:

  • empty properties, such as where the owner lives abroad or is in a care home;
  • tenanted properties, for example, where the owner lives elsewhere, a tenant might try to mortgage or sell the property without the owner’s knowledge;
  • where there are family problems, for example, when a relative dies, a family member could try to sell a property without giving someone their proper share; and
  • properties without a mortgage – according to our records nearly half of all registered residential properties are mortgage-free.

Get more property fraud advice

How Property Alert can help

The benefits of Property Alert are:

  • it can provide an early warning of suspicious activity;
  • it allows you to take immediate action if something happens to your property that you are not expecting; and
  • it’s free and easy to use.

Jessica Prasad
By Jessica Prasad,
Senior Communications Officer at HM Land Registry