Mortgage and land title fraud are in the news. Here is some information from BC to help the public understand the risk and the protections that are in place.
- Real estate transactions and BC’s land title system are safe and secure. Fraud is rare.
- While occurrences of land title fraud are infrequent, the industry is vigilant about protecting the security and integrity of land ownership and BC’s land title system.
- Real estate transactions involve many participants, who all play a role in keeping the system safe. This includes legal professionals, lending institutions and real estate licensees who have practices in place to ensure proper due diligence and identity verification in any land-related transaction.
- Frauds, when they do occur, can usually be classified as either mortgage fraud (placing a mortgage, without authorization, against the property) or title fraud (transferring a property when you are not the true owner or do not have proper authorization).
- Regarding title fraud, BC’s land title system is based on the Torrens system which provides a public record of ownership, charges and interests. Protection against title fraud is provided through a guarantee that, should an error be made in a title, individuals who suffer a loss will be compensated through an assurance fund.
- The BC Financial Services Authority, which regulates BC’s financial services sector including mortgage brokers and real estate professionals, has published consumer tips to help protect against fraudulent transactions: https://www.bcfsa.ca/about-us/news/news-release/consumer-tips-protect-against-fraudulent-transactions?hits=
- The Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia, responsible for operating the land title and survey systems of BC, has published information about title security: https://ltsa.ca/property-owners/about-land-records/history-of-bcs-land-title-system/learn-about-title-security-in-bc