The risk of falling victim to fraud is not limited to businesses and institutions. Many forms of fraud are perpetrated against individuals. While it’s deeply unpleasant to suffer any of these experiences, property fraud is particularly distressing because it not only involves one of your most valuable assets but undermines the security of your home.
What is a Form LL Restriction?
This is a measure introduced by the Land Registry to protect property owners from having their property fraudulently sold. Although you might think registration procedures give you water-tight protection, resourceful and determined criminals will always try to find ways to circumvent that protection. It most commonly happens if a property is vacant. Form LL is designed to stop a solicitor or conveyancing from acting in the disposition or sale of a property without proof that the person seeking to sell it is the true owner. It is free for owners of vacant property and attracts a fee of Ł50 for owner-occupiers.
The wording of the restriction is a little cumbersome but wide enough to catch any attempt at fraud. It covers not only sales but also re-mortgages and any other activity which compromises the rights of the owner:
“No disposition of the registered estate by the proprietor of the registered estate is to be registered without a certificate signed by a conveyancer that the conveyancer is satisfied that the person who executed the document submitted for registration as disponor is the same person as the proprietor.”
How Do You Verify a Restriction?
If you decide to place this restriction on your property, you can do this without the help of a solicitor using Land Registry form RX1. It should stop anyone from pretending they are the owner, selling the property without your knowledge and walking away with the proceeds. At the same time, it will impose constraints on your own freedom to dispose of the property but these are only minor and simply require you to prove your identity to your conveyancer, who can then certify that you are the true owner.
To verify your restriction, you’ll need a document bearing your signature so the conveyancer can compare this with the signature on the mortgage deed. The verifying document needs to be something like a passport or driving licence, which have already been through an official verification process. Some solicitors might ask you to attend their offices or participate in a video conference. There are now alternatives to traditional solicitors’ practices such as https://www.parachutelaw.co.uk/form-ll-land-registry-restriction Parachute Law, which make it relatively easy to have the restriction verified. Once the solicitor is satisfied, they will complete a Certificate of Compliance and allow you to proceed with the sale.
How Do You Remove the Restriction?
Various restrictions can be placed on a property to limit what future owners can do with it. These are usually known as restrictive covenants and don’t affect sale or purchase. You can apply to have them removed if they’ve become obsolete, or speak to the ‘successor in title’ to the person who created the covenant and negotiate its removal.
A restriction can only be removed by the rightful owner. You need to apply to the Land Registry and your application must be accompanied by a similar Certificate of Compliance signed by a solicitor confirming your identity and right to remove it. Although the Land Registry does not charge for its removal, you will have to pay a modest fee to your solicitor for carrying out the work. It can take two or three weeks but is otherwise straightforward.