A service that alerts landlords when fraudulent tenants try to ‘steal’ their properties via title fraud has struck a deal with the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).
London-based Title Guardian monitors Land Registry title documents and other digital sources and is designed to meet the rising threat of property fraud for landlords.
Several widely-publicised cases have highlighted how easy it is to lose a property to sophisticated criminals.
The most high-profile was the 2021 case of Reverend Mike Hall who, after renting out his Luton home while working in another part of the country, returned to find it had been sold to a young couple by his fraudulent tenants.
Then, in 2022, a fraud ring involving a fake estate agency was uncovered that had tried with varying levels of success to steal up to 20 homes in Cambridge, Southampton and Bedfordshire. Also, a ITV drama in 2020 was based on the experiences of journalist Max Hastings and his wife, who very nearly lost an investment property to fraudsters.
Since launching last year, Title Guardian has proved popular with landlords because its tech can pick up not just title fraud but other scams including unauthorised sub-letting and properties that are illegally used as business addresses.
The service, which is also being used by home owners, law firms and property providers including letting agencies, provides the service for free to cover one property while second and third registered properties receive a 40% discount upon registration.
John Daw, Title Guardian’s CEO, explains: “Landlords can be at a higher risk of fraudulent threats. They aren’t at their properties, so can be vulnerable to property and identity mis-use and unauthorised sub-letting.
“This partnership not only endorses Title Guardian but also sends a powerful message to the property industry that proactively tackling this issue is of utmost importance. We look forward to welcoming NRLA members as Title Guardian customers, allowing us to protect their portfolios and contribute to a more secure property market.”
Ben Beadle (pictured), Chief Executive at the NRLA, adds: “This partnership provides our members with important protections against fraud at a time when, unfortunately, crimes of this nature are becoming more common across the private rented sector.”