0:02 AM, 8th December 2023, About 3 months ago 3
Landlords and property owners can now protect themselves from tenant sub-letting and property fraud with a new service called Title Guardian.
The service monitors various sources, such as sales and letting portals and government databases, where property owners’ details appear and where fraudulent activities begin.
If the firm detects any suspicious activity on a property, such as a change of title deeds, a new company registration, or an unauthorised sub-letting, it sends instant alerts to the property owner via text, email and app notification.
The property owner can then take action to stop any potential fraud threat before it causes any damage.
John Daw, Title Guardian’s chief executive, said: “It’s widely known that the property industry’s processes require significant modernisation and digitisation.
“This can impact landlords significantly and greater protection against fraud threats is essential, particularly in areas like unauthorised sub-letting.”
He adds: “The availability of property owners’ data on the government’s open register naturally creates risks, as that data can be sold to anyone, including those with criminal intent.”
A common problem for landlords is sub-letting, where tenants rent out the property or part of it to someone else without the landlord’s permission.
Nearly half of tenants (48%) who sub-let do not tell their landlords.
Sub-letting can expose landlords to potential insurance, mortgage and legal issues, as well as damage to the property and loss of rental income.
The firm also says that property fraud is a serious issue that can affect anyone who owns a property, especially landlords who do not reside at their rented properties.
Fraudsters can impersonate property owners and use forged documents to change title deeds and sell or mortgage the property without the owner’s knowledge.
According to the Land Registry, property fraud has cost victims more than £100 million since 2009.
Mr Daw said: “We have already prevented three potential cases of property-related fraud in the first three weeks of being live – including the rental listing of a property without the owner’s authority or knowledge.
“We also detected bogus companies being set up using the address of one unsuspecting customer and another bogus company using the identity of another Title Guardian user.”
Paul Shamplina, the founder of Landlord Action and an advisor to the firm, said: “From a landlord’s perspective, the arrival of Title Guardian is a welcome and vital tool to safeguard a portfolio.
“Both for title fraud protection and also to help landlords protect against property misuse by tenants.”
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