A figure of a house in a trap, representing property fraud.

If you are a landlord, you may be wondering how to protect your property from fraud. Yes, property fraud is a real thing, and it can be a nightmare for property owners. Here, we explore some simple yet effective steps to keep your investment safe and sound. 

What is property fraud?

Before we begin looking at ways to protect your property from property fraud, let’s elaborate on what exactly ‘property fraud’ means. In brief terms, it is when potential tenants use fake documents when applying for a tenancy. 

An example of this is when tenants forge payslips to make it seem as though they earn enough money to pass the affordability check. It comes as no surprise that this is becoming more of an issue, especially since the significant rise in the cost of property. But, there are also other ways in which property fraud can take place. 

Types of property fraud

Property fraud can take many forms, and fraudsters are likely to pose as many different types of people, such as buyers, sellers and even conveyancers. 

  • Buyers: Some fraudsters might pose as buyers, dipping their toes into a deal with fake IDs, only to back out last minute. The real aim here is to glean enough information to pull off title fraud or, worse, go through with the transaction to swipe any funds on the table.
  • Sellers: Some attempt to sell or mortgage a property by pretending to be you, using stolen or counterfeit identification. They often target sole or absent owners, especially those with unmortgaged properties or significant equity.
  • Lender: Watch out for forged discharges. If the discharge source seems sketchy, it’s probably time to check whether or not the source is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
  • Conveyancer: Fraudsters might also pose as a conveyancer, forging fake letterheads or email addresses. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s worth a double-check to ensure they’re the real deal. Trust your gut instinct!

Due diligence

Ensuring that you do your due diligence as a landlord or property owner is essential in preventing property fraud as much as possible. 


If you’re dealing with a company that seems to have no history, it is worth double-checking its existence by looking for a Companies House registration number. If, for example, the company doesn’t have a contact number, it is more than likely that the company is made up. 

Title fraud: 

Title fraud takes place when fraudsters change the property title from the true owner to themselves using forged documents. Always double-check documentation and don’t shy away from asking tricky questions.

Mortgage fraud: 

Mortgage fraud occurs when fraudsters siphon money from lenders using the mortgage process. Again, due diligence is your best friend here.

A helping hand

Remember, the HM Land Registry is always there to assist with a register of titles protected by a state guarantee. If things go south, there’s a good chance of compensation from public funds. 

Utilising information from guides from the HM Land Registry is a great way to ensure that you feel confident in protecting your property. 

Protecting your property from property fraud

As a landlord, it is imperative that you put certain measures in place to ensure that you don’t fall victim to any fraudulent activity. So, how would you go about doing this? 

Register your property

First things first, ensure your property is registered with the HM Land Registry. This might seem like a basic step, but it’s your first line of defence. A registered property means there’s a legal record of your ownership, making it significantly harder for fraudsters to sell or mortgage your property without your knowledge. 

Sign up for the Property Alert service

The Land Registry offers a fantastic, free service called Property Alert. This service sends you email alerts whenever there’s significant activity on your property, such as someone trying to change the registered ownership or take out a mortgage. It’s like having a vigilant neighbour keeping an eye on your property 24/7!

It is important to note that property fraud won’t be stopped solely by signing up for the Property Alert and that you will need to take further action if you feel any fraudulent activity is being taken against your property. 

Keep your contact details updated

Make sure your contact details are up to date with HM Land Registry. If they need to reach you for any reason – perhaps to verify a suspicious activity – the correct contact information can make all the difference in preventing fraud.

Use a ‘restriction’ to your advantage

You can apply for a restriction to be placed on your property’s title. This requires a solicitor or conveyancer to certify that any transaction involving your property is made by you, the legitimate owner. It’s an extra layer of security that can deter fraudsters and give you peace of mind.

Be vigilant with empty properties

If your property is going to be empty for a while, perhaps between tenants or if you’re renovating, extra vigilance is key. Regularly check on the property, or have someone do this for you. An unattended property is a prime target for fraudsters.

Secure your mail

One way fraudsters gather information about a property and its owner is through intercepted mail. Consider using a Royal Mail redirection service if you’ve moved out and are renting the property. This way, you can ensure that important documents don’t fall into the wrong hands.

Engage with your tenants

If you’re renting out your property, having a good relationship with your tenants can serve as an additional layer of protection. Encourage them to report anything suspicious, such as unknown individuals inquiring about the ownership of the property.

Seek professional advice

If you’re ever in doubt or suspect that something is amiss, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. A solicitor specialising in property law can offer guidance and help you take any necessary legal steps to protect your investment.

Protecting your rental property from fraud doesn’t require any superhuman efforts. By taking these practical steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of property fraud. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and remember that prevention is always better than cure. 

If you need more information on Unoccupied Property Landlord Insurance in aid of keeping your property safe, get in touch with one of our friendly team members at CIA Landlords on 01788 818 670. 

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