The Macchiusi Sales Team, Weiss Realty Ltd Brokerage (2021)
From the TitlePLUS website
Fraud: how it can affect you? What is real estate fraud?
Fraud can affect any type of property, whether real estate, monetary investments or items you buy like paintings. There are several types of real estate fraud:
Why is real estate fraud happening?
Real estate fraud is a continent-wide, if not global, phenomenon. So, there is nothing unique about Canada that is making our properties vulnerable to it.
It is likely related to the upsurge in identity theft, which is reported regularly in the media. As population centres have grown in North America and people have become more mobile, those involved in the real estate industry (such as sales agents, mortgage brokers, lenders and lawyers) are less likely to know all of their clients on a long-term basis. When towns were small and everyone knew each other, it was pretty difficult to impersonate a local landowner to steal title!
These developments are compounded by the rise of the Internet, which makes obtaining a mortgage loan, for example, more convenient while (to some extent) de-personalizing the process.
How does TitlePLUS insurance help?
TitlePLUS insurance can help in two settings: when you are first buying your home or through our OwnerEXPRESSÂ® program if you already own a home (and do not yet have a title insurance policy).
The TitlePLUS policy provides coverage:
However, please remember that at the end of the day, insurance is about indemnifying you with money for a loss. If a Court ever ruled that someone else now owned the property, all we could do is pay your loss: We can't tell the Court what to do with your property, just ask properly on your behalf by following legal procedures!
What else can I do to protect myself?While having TitlePLUS insurance will give you peace of mind, isn't it better to avoid becoming a victim of real estate fraud in the first place? We completely agree, but there are no guarantees.
A prudent homeowner or buyer, however, will remember the following:
The penalties for fraud are very serious. The Canadian Criminal Code has many sections that can be used to prosecute alleged fraudsters.
It should be perfectly obvious by now that forging a real estate document to take someone else's title or applying for a mortgage on property you don't really own is a big "no-no." But are there other ways you can get into trouble? While this is not intended to be legal advice, and you should always talk to your own lawyer about your specific circumstances, bear in mind the following "tips" from some of us who deal with the fraud fallout in our community.
Don't be a "front" or "straw buyer" for a transaction. If it isn't really your deal or your property, don't get involved, even if you are offered a big fee for letting your name and/or credit history be used. Ask an independent lawyer for advice, if you are really tempted. Similarly, don't lend your personal identification to anyone else.
Don't mislead your lender. Answer the questions on the loan application with scrupulous truthfulness. Be sure the employment and financial information you give your lender are completely true and update the lender if the information changes before the deal is completed.
Make sure the lender (not just the mortgage broker) understands the true purchase price for your property and all the terms of the deal. Offer the lender and your lawyer ALL the paperwork you have on the transaction and let them choose what they need to keep. Tell your lawyer anything that the real estate agent, mortgage broker or lender said that you found odd or disquieting. You will be more comfortable doing that if your lawyer is truly someone of your own choosing.
No matter how frustrating your matrimonial situation may be, stay patient and let the lawyers work out the property details. What you may consider a justified self-help remedy involving a transfer of, or mortgage on, your home may be viewed most unfavourably by the police if there has been any forgery, impersonation or misrepresentation of your spouse's position. Always be truthful with your lender and lawyer about your matrimonial status.
If someone has entrusted you with a Power of Attorney, be sure you understand fully the circumstances in which the "donor" (that is, the person who is giving you power over the assets) expects you to use it. You are legally required to use it only in the best interests of the donor. So, you can't use it, for example, to mortgage the donor's property because you are short of cash for your own needs.
This article is from our friends at TitlePLUS
The Macchiusi Sales Team - Weiss Realty Ltd. Real Estate Brokerage (2021)