Over the last 10 years the provincial government has embarked on a plan to computerize the Ontario Land Registry system. This computerization has been completed in all the major cities in the province and will be completed throughout Ontario in the next few years. As a result of this conversion the Land Registry System is now open to computer fraud.
The fraud usually follows one of these scenarios. In one case the fraudster hacks into your title parcel on the government’s registry office website. Once on your title he deletes any outstanding mortgages and changes the ownership to himself. The fraudster then waits a few months before applying to a bank for a mortgage for renovations to the dwelling. If the fraudster asks the bank for less than 50% of the value of the house the bank does not do an appraisal of the property. The bank funds the mortgage and the fraudster disappears with the money. You are left with a mortgage against the house. When the bank starts collection proceedings you are forced to defend and eventually claim against the government’s compensation fund.
In the second scenario the fraudster is a tenant of the property. He hacks into the title and sets himself as owner. He then lists and sells the property as owner and you are once again forced to look to the Land Titles Assurance Fund for compensation.
The government has recently introduced amendments to the Land Registry legislation to attempt to reduce your exposure and only time will tell if it is successful.
Title insurance gives you financial protection against title fraud. In the past, title insurance was only available when you purchased your home. It is now available for individuals that already own their home. We have the understanding and technology to expedite the application process and can quickly give you an idea of what premium you should expect to pay. Call us for more information.
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