A property law firm is no longer accepting adviser witness signatures on title transfer forms.
Gordons Property Lawyers says only solicitors can now act as witnesses on title transfer forms after instances where co-owners have later claimed to have never signed anything.
Gordons operating officer Paul Norris says: “We do thousands of remortgages a month and part of the process is transferring property from two names to one name. We have had two instances of fraud in the past two years where parties have left the property and come back some time later claiming they never signed the form.
“A consequence of that, and on the advice of our insurers, means we require the outgoing party to have a signature witnessed by a solicitor on that type of document. It is nothing to do with not trusting brokers as we work with hundreds everyday.”
Liberty Mortgages Partner Ernie Jamieson says: “I take huge exception to being told that I cannot witness someone’s signature which we do for every other package. My client had to take time off work and pay extra fees in order to get his form signed.”
BDO National head of fraud and financial crime Simon Bevan says: “I agree it is better to have somebody independent but, historically, solicitors commit more fraud than any other occupation group.”