Buying and selling property can be an exciting time and as soon as you have found a buyer or a property to purchase, you will want your solicitor or conveyancer to review the legal paperwork and proceed with property checks as quickly as possible. But before your solicitor or conveyancer begins working on your behalf, they will request various forms of original identification from you. Such forms of identification might include passports, driving licences, utility or bank statements received recently by post. They may also undertake identity checks and searches on you and, as a result, request further identification. This procedure is more than a formality or for record’s sake, it is a preventative against fraud.
The recent cases of P&P Property Ltd v Owen White & Catlin LLP (2018) and Dreamvar (UK) Ltd v Mishcon de Reya and another (2018) both involved fraudsters posing as property owners in selling vacant properties. In both cases the purchase money paid by the buyers to the fraudsters could not be recovered. You will appreciate, therefore that it is in all parties’ interests to make sure proper ID checks are carried out so that fraud can be avoided wherever possible.
Solicitors and conveyancers are now undertaking stringent identity checks on their clients, when clients are selling vacant properties, to ensure as best they can that the persons who have appointed them are legitimately who they say they are. This can sometimes take time and require the need for further identification to be provided. Rest assured, the checks are being undertaken for the benefit of all parties involved.
Lisa Thornhill, Conveyancing Solicitor, Adams Harrison