Genuine passport, fake person
An ingenious fraud involves selling property by obtaining a passport in the name of the property owner. There have been several such cases in London in the past few months. One involved the veteran war reporter Max Hastings. A rental property owned by his wife was “sold” by a crook for £1.3m.
The system works like this. The crook first takes a tenancy of the property. They then legally change their name to that of the property owner, and obtain a passport in their new name. That is used to impersonate the owner and sell the property.
This can be avoided if owners use the Land Registry’s “Property Alert” service. That ensures they get an email to alert them if there is any activity relating to the property.
We suggest you encourage landlords to use the service, particularly if the property is unmortgaged. For details see https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk/
Without that precaution it is hard to know how anyone acting in the sale could spot the fraud.
By the way, one can use the “Property Alert” service to monitor any property. You do not have to own it.