Q1: Will there be any anti-forgery measures to guard against property fraud under the title registration system?
A: Under the LTO, a title certificate issued by the Land Registry will have to be returned to the Registry for cancellation prior to registration of a transfer or transmission of the property. The Registry will take all practicable steps to strengthen the control measures on the issuance of title certificates and adopt advanced anti-forgery features to reduce the risk of forgery of title certificates. In addition, property owners will be advised to keep the Registry updated of their latest correspondence addresses (and email addresses) so that the Registry can send a notification to the property owner concerned upon receipt of an application for cancellation of a title certificate.
Besides, there will be free alert service for registered owners. Registered owners will receive notification (in the form of e-mail, followed by phone’s Short Message Service (SMS) reminders on the issue of the notification) from the Land Registry when there is an application for registration lodged against their properties and also upon the completion of registration. The service will enable registered owners to discover possible fraud at an early stage and take appropriate action as soon as practicable.
Furthermore, conveyancing solicitors will continue to play an important role in protecting property owners from the risk of fraud. Solicitors will be required under law to verify applications, including performing checking on the identity, capacity and authority of parties and ensuring due execution of documents lodged with Land Registry.