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Property Title Fraud Costs Land Registry £26M In Compensation

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/may/15/land-registry-title-fraud-compensation

The Land Registry, the government department that logs land and property ownership in England and Wales, has paid out more than £26m since 2006 compensating victims of a recurring property fraud.

The con – called property title theft – involves criminals taking out mortgages on properties they do not own, pocketing the money and leaving the real owner thousands of pounds in debt.

Last year, the Registry paid out compensation for frauds of £4.51m, the second-highest loss on record, as well as costs of a further £440,000, according to the department's annual report. There were 53 cases of the fraud compensated in 2009/10, down from 62 incidents in 2008/09 when the loss totalled £4.23m with costs of £815,000.

Patrick McCloy, director of title theft experts Gatekeeper Protection, said: "Payouts may rise exponentially as victims often do not know they have been victims of fraud until they come to sell their property, which may be many years later. As such, it is likely that victims are 'building up' and gradually more and more are becoming aware of the problem and discovering they are victims."

The compensation figures, which relate to all frauds but much of which are believed to relate to title theft, have been growing steadily each year, with the exception of the £8.63m loss the Registry sustained in 2005/06. Almost all of that was paid to the Candy Brothers and their bankers HBOS after the luxury property developers were swindled by four pensioners who sold them a 47-acre Berkshire estate that they did not own.

That claim dated back to 2004 when Nick and Christian Candy paid £6.5m to a quartet of fraudsters in their sixties and early seventies, believing they were purchasing King's Beeches in Sunninghill, an estate that actually belonged to a billionaire Saudi sheikh, Khalid bin Mahfouz. Forged paperwork lodged with the Registry suggested that the pensioners were the real owners.

Nice, I wonder how much this has been abused. Still at least with this no one is lying about their income just the fact they don't actually own anything rather than what they don't earn.

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This is the reason we have a Land Registry and partly why we pay Land Registration fees.

What, to pay the for the compensation to the victims because the Land Registry civil servants failed to do their job properly and check documents?

When documents relate to title of property worth millions any responsible person would exercise due diligence. I guess the Land Registry employees aren't bothered because it's not their property at risk, and the taxpayer will be forced cough up ft pay for any of their mistakes.

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Or maybe the land was unregistered prior to the deal and the registry had no involvement until the monies were already handed over and the ink dry.

You do appreciate the difference between registered and unregistered conveyancing?

This sounds like a sophisticated sting that fooled two sets of highly paid legal firms.

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I would have thought that these sorts of frauds would be made more difficult if all payments were made electronically to named individuals.

If you register the details of the payment at the LR too, if there is a problem like this, just follow the money to find the crook.

Some sort of ID system is going to be needed sooner or later to make this sort of fraud much more difficult to commit. Trouble is, when it is proposed, those who would benefit from it kick up a big fuss about it.

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and the taxpayer will be forced cough up ft pay for any of their mistakes.

Land Registry has been self financing from margaret's days so I don't expect any Daily Mail readers will have to dip their hands into their pockets.

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How difficult would it be in this day and age to have a simple map of Britain available on line with the ownership of each piece of land clearly marked with the owner.

Then a value applied to it and an appropriate taxation system developed with a display showing the amount paid.

Edited by Timak

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How difficult would it be in this day and age to have a simple map of Britain available on line with the ownership of each piece of land clearly marked with the owner.

Then a value applied to it and an appropriate taxation system developed with a display showing the amount paid.

It would be very difficult indeed. The size of the piece of paper would be enormous. And unless you had the ability to constantly update ownership details and changes of borders as owners agree on moving them, it would almost certainly be out of date in next to no time.

What I find interesting, is that one of the principle functions of the state, is to control the ownership of land within its borders. So fundamental is this function, that if you find ancient records in capital cities of defunct civilisations, you will find records that attempt to record this information. From the Doomsday book back to clay tablets from Sumeria, the state's most important records are of who owns what bit of land.

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It would be very difficult indeed. The size of the piece of paper would be enormous. And unless you had the ability to constantly update ownership details and changes of borders as owners agree on moving them, it would almost certainly be out of date in next to no time.

Computer games programmers had the same problem with texture mapping. Literally billions of pixels to update every minute. That's why computer games don't exist. :rolleyes:

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From the Doomsday book back to clay tablets from Sumeria, the state's most important records are of who owns what bit of land.

So that makes the UK a bit less advanced than ancient Sumeria? Way to go,

Peter.

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How difficult would it be in this day and age to have a simple map of Britain available on line with the ownership of each piece of land clearly marked with the owner.

<snip>

You can't just demand that every piece of land be registered, especially when the body responsible is self funded. The fees would have to come from the estate owner, it has to be done piecemeal, gradually widening the criteria for compulsory registration until you mop up the remaining unknown bits.

Examination of unregistered title (leading to registration) is probably the most difficult type of common transaction the Land Registry undertakes, once land is registered it becomes a lot simpler.

In all cases, conveyancing is done by the private sector, the Land Registry is just there to record the transaction once completed and guarantee it. It's claims on this guarantee that the Guardian has picked up on.

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Computer games programmers had the same problem with texture mapping. Literally billions of pixels to update every minute. That's why computer games don't exist. :rolleyes:

The Land Registry has the index map, a digital map with estates in land shown on it but it is not complete due to unregistered land yet to be registered. The index map is referenced by title number and the register of title has the ownership details on it.

It should be straight forward but once you throw in lying cheating humans, the potential for fraud arises.

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It would be very difficult indeed. The size of the piece of paper would be enormous. And unless you had the ability to constantly update ownership details and changes of borders as owners agree on moving them, it would almost certainly be out of date in next to no time.

What I find interesting, is that one of the principle functions of the state, is to control the ownership of land within its borders. So fundamental is this function, that if you find ancient records in capital cities of defunct civilisations, you will find records that attempt to record this information. From the Doomsday book back to clay tablets from Sumeria, the state's most important records are of who owns what bit of land.

ONLINE (ie electronic). Answer - very easy as long as OS grid points known & accurate enough.

In my view - ALL land should be registered, owner listed, taxed (LVT on expected rental income) and the resulting locaion, land and tax map displayed online.

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I dont see how this is down to the LR aka taxpayer when it should rest solely with the bank involved.

If the bank lend money for the purchase of a house that can not be sold then why should I pay them back?

If I buy a stolen car the government dont refund me what I paid out when it gets discovered. The responsibility and loss is mine alone and a lesson in due diligence.

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I dont see how this is down to the LR aka taxpayer when it should rest solely with the bank involved.

If the bank lend money for the purchase of a house that can not be sold then why should I pay them back?

If I buy a stolen car the government dont refund me what I paid out when it gets discovered. The responsibility and loss is mine alone and a lesson in due diligence.

Isn't a better analogy why should an insurer pay out when an insured event occurs?

If you buy a car at auction you can purchase an indemnity to recover the purchase price if the vehicle has been stolen or has outstanding finance.

The Land Registry is used to guarantee the title to registered land. I don't see that it is wrong for it to compensate a buyer when it has failed to ensure that a transaction is legitimate.

Isn't it the case the Land Registry is self funding so the taxpayers don't pay.

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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