Several instances of title fraud have been reported by Toronto police over the past few months, including a woman whose condo was sold by fraudsters while she was in China. In another instance, a couple residing in the United Kingdom for a few years found from their property manager that strangers were living in their Toronto home, which they had purchased from impostors.
Before the epidemic, title fraud was essentially nonexistent, according to Brian King, an investigator with King International Consulting Group who studies these types of crimes. Currently, he receives reports of fraudulent title transfers up to three times per week, with the majority of cases occurring in the Greater Toronto Area or surrounding areas.
What is Title Theft?
Title fraud is one of the primary types of fraud affecting the Canadian real estate market. This occurs when the ownership or title of a property is fraudulently changed, or when counterfeit documents are used to enable a fraudster to illegally sell or refinance the property.
As a homeowner, you are responsible for proving that real estate title fraud has occurred; if you are a victim and do not have title insurance, this can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor.
In addition, you won’t be able to sell or refinance your house until the title is restored, which may upset or derail your financial plans.
Which Kind of Properties are Targeted?
Title fraud often involves residences with minimal or no mortgages, allowing fraudsters to maximize their earnings upon sale. Fraudsters also target vacant investment properties and houses whose owners are absent for a lengthy period real estate lawyer toronto. So, several months may pass before the homeowners even realize a sale has taken place. In addition, homeowners who rent their homes to tenants may be more susceptible to fraud because the tenants have physical access to the home.
Methods for Personal Protection
To aid in your protection against real estate title fraud, you can:
Call a real estate attorney to conduct a land title search with your local land registry office. This will reveal the identity of the property owner as well as any mortgages or liens filed on the title.
Maintain your personal and mortgage data in a secure location and shred old documents instead of throwing them away.
Hiring house-sitters or keeping your vehicle parked in the driveway can prevent scammers from targeting your home if you’re leaving it for an extended period of time.
As a homeowner, you can also conduct periodic online searches for your property to determine if it has been inappropriately posted for sale or on a rental service such as Airbnb.
Yet, the most crucial thing a homeowner can do is to purchase title insurance, which protects against losses resulting from title fraud.
What Exactly is Title insurance, and What Does it Cover?
Despite the fact that title insurance is not required in Ontario, homeowners are strongly encouraged to obtain a policy.
A title insurance policy protects homeowners against title fraud and other damages related to their property’s title or ownership for a one-time premium. It safeguards homeowners against fraudulent claims on their property and pays legal fees to reestablish the homeowner’s title rights.
Title insurance also protects homeowners from encroachment issues and existing liens on the property’s title.
Although title insurance cannot prevent you from being a victim of fraud, it can safeguard you against many of its effects. Some homeowners who have owned their homes for decades do not have a title insurance coverage, despite the fact that it is affordable to buy. The price of residential title insurance varies based on the value of your property and the insurance provider you select. Your title insurance policy will protect you as long as you own the property and will pay losses up to the maximum coverage amount specified in the policy.
How Can I Get Title Insurance?
To learn more about the advantages of title insurance and how to purchase a coverage, please call (905) 795-7757 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At SLC Lawyers, our attorneys often assist clients with a vast array of legal issues, including company law, real estate law, estate law, employment law, health law, and tax law. We have developed a reputation among our peers and clients for the quality of our service and depth of our expertise. We can be reached online or at (905) 795-7795. The contents of the SLC Lawyer website are given solely for informational reasons. It is not meant to offer legal advice or opinions of any kind.