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Anyone worry about property fraud?

(20 Posts)
theshrewdavenger Fri 14-Feb-14 14:45:50

It turns out that neither the EA or the solicitor have any ID from our vendor. The land register entry is for a woman, but the EA has only dealt with a man. He has subsequently queried it, to be told he is her husband. My solicitor says this is insufficient but we all live distances away and are likely never to meet. Is this normal?

specialsubject Fri 14-Feb-14 14:50:50

no. You need to know that you are buying the property from someone who is allowed to sell it.

ID checks are done as a matter of course, so as neither the agent nor solicitor have done it, this is either fraud or incompetence.

proceed no further until you have the right documents. Your solicitor is absolutely right.

distance no excuse.

sh77 Fri 14-Feb-14 15:10:19

Absolutely agree. Do not proceed unless you are confident and certain who your vendor is. Also ask your lawyer to use lawyercheck to make sure vendor's solicitor is legit. Your own lawyer should have asvised you about the risks.

TunipTheUnconquerable Fri 14-Feb-14 15:13:23

The agents need to do it. We took ages to find our ID and the agent kept chasing us up, as indeed she should have done.

Dontwanttooutmyself Fri 14-Feb-14 15:18:09

The sellers solicitor has a legal obligation to verify the ID the seller. If they hasn't then they should be reported to the SRA. Your solicitor can always ask to see the evidence - would be entirely reasonable if there is a concern. But the only person who can sell the house is the the registered owner, unless they have PoA or a Grant of probate.

Dontwanttooutmyself Fri 14-Feb-14 15:19:43

Oh, and you don't need to meet face to face. It's your solicitors problem though, not yours. Thats what you are paying him or her for!

theshrewdavenger Fri 14-Feb-14 15:20:18

Thanks. The EA has asked her for a scan of her passport and a utility bill from her address (apparently they 'usually' do this but 'didn't this time' hmm). However, my solicitor still says this is not enough as the scans could be fraudulent. She requires all clients to come in in person for identification (I didn't but only because I have used them several times before).

sh77 they seem to be a well-established firm from a google search, reviews, website etc. but I will ask her to check them out too. They have been asked them to provide the ID details but they never get back to my sol. on anything, including this.

specialsubject Fri 14-Feb-14 15:25:18

tell the seller's estate agent that their solicitor is useless and doesn't do any work, and unless things start happening you will pull out. The EA only gets paid if the transaction completes so this should do the trick.

if it doesn't pull out.

BTW ID's don't have to be done face to face, there are ways.

theshrewdavenger Fri 14-Feb-14 15:37:49

Hi Special the thing is, we really don't want to pull out, as our bid was accepted before xmas and the market has gone up a lot since then. There's no chain and we are not going to move in to it, so I suppose I just want to make sure it's not fraud.

Is a scanned passport and recent utility bill sufficient for an ID in these circumstances?

Thanks for all your posts and advice

mousmous Fri 14-Feb-14 15:45:00

we had to send in the originals to the sol (internet company).

caroldecker Fri 14-Feb-14 15:50:25

You can ignore your solicitor and take the risk, but if they are not the legal owner of the land, then you have bought nothing and will lose all your money - that is why we have solicitors, so you can sue them if it goes wrong when you have acted on their advice.

eurochick Fri 14-Feb-14 16:03:58

The seller's solicitor is being extremely remiss. Not only for the fraud risk but because of the 'know your client' obligations on all solicitors the solicitor should have taken id before they started work on the file. Your solicitor is behaving completely correctly by insisting that the other solicitor sees original id.

specialsubject Fri 14-Feb-14 16:48:23

you can only go on what your solicitor says - if he/she says it is not enough proof, then you would be most unwise to go ahead.

Id's can be checked at a bank local to the vendor, if distance is an issue. But if the land registry says it is owned by someone of a DIFFERENT GENDER to the person you are dealing with, seems dodgy to me.

theshrewdavenger Fri 14-Feb-14 18:02:00

Hm, yes. All very valid advice. We were initially on red alert because it emerged that the same solicitor had acted in the sale of a flat in the same (small) block a few months ago - bit weird, when they are hundreds of miles away. But the EA confirmed they recommended this solicitor because they had been so efficient and should have the paperwork as it is a newish build. However, we have been ready for ages and they just don't reply to our solicitor's requests for info. Bizarre. We are now getting a good deal on this flat, so we don't want to lose it.

Celeriacacaca Fri 14-Feb-14 18:10:39

As above but also that if it's a good deal, then there may (or may not) be a reason for that. Tread carefully.

Spickle Sat 15-Feb-14 10:57:17

If the vendor says that the man is her husband, her solicitor should be requesting to see a Marriage Certificate. Also ID can be verified locally and then scanned to the solicitor as "original seen" and countersigned by the the professional person verifying the document. Land Registry will confirm who has Absolute Title to the property and it would be that person who can sell, unless as said above there is a PoA or Grant of Probate.

theshrewdavenger Sun 16-Feb-14 08:08:59

Thanks Spickle. I think I will insist that someone has seen her original passport not just a scan. I know where the vendor (as per land register) works (v. senior position). Would it be bad to call up her PA and ask for an email so we can confirm directly that she is selling her flat? Or too stalkerish?

specialsubject Sun 16-Feb-14 10:26:52

YOU don't do anything. That is what your solicitor is paid for.

Spickle Sun 16-Feb-14 10:51:11

Yes your solicitor should be asking their solicitor to confirm and provide copies of documents to verify the vendors identity and that the vendor is entitled to sell the property.

When I sold my house, I had forgotten my late husband's name was still on the title deeds and my buyer's solicitor wanted a copy of the death certificate just to confirm that my husband had passed away and was not living somewhere, completely unaware that the property was being sold without his agreement!

If you feel you want to query things, get in touch with your solicitor and ask him to request information from the vendor's solicitor. This should be standard anyway and it is what you pay him for. It is not your job to clarify ID, this should be done as part of the conveyancing process by the solicitors instructed.

SquinkiesRule Sun 16-Feb-14 14:32:01

Same as Spikle my Mum is selling and had to produce not only her passport but her marriage cert (as they bought before the wedding) and her Dh's death certificate as he's on the deeds.
I's tell your solicitor to hold everything until the proof of identity is all done.

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