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Fake real estate documents: how to understand that not everything is clean with documents

Fraudsters make a new document or its form, enter false information, fake a signature, fingerprints, stamps and the like.

In the real estate market, there are cases when fraudsters use fake documents to take possession of other people’s property. In order to be on guard, it is worth knowing what are the “symptoms” of the fact that the document is not real. The capital real estate portal found out what documents are forged most often and how to see that the document has no legal force.

Types of fake documents
Fraudsters forge documents partially or completely. If we are talking about the first option, then this is the removal of part of the text, the introduction of new words, phrases, characters, pasting of individual sheets, re-sticking photos, replacing sheets. With a complete replacement, fraudsters make a new document or its form, enter false information, fake a signature, fingerprints, stamps and the like.

And if everything is completely fake with documents, then the choice of a method for partial falsification of a document depends on the goals of the attacker who decided to fake it.

How to check real estate documents – signs of fakes
Attackers impersonate real owners and investors. They change their last name, first name, middle name, year of birth, or store this data, but replace the photo in the passport.

Related article: How to Recognize Real Estate Fraud: New Frauds in 2019

“In fairness, we rarely find in the hands of fake real estate documents. Agreements with her are quite expensive and their parties are sensitive to the design. All transactions go through notaries, who, firstly, work only with the originals, and secondly, independently check everything according to the registers. So there are not so many reasons to be wary: providing a duplicate or a notarized copy, transactions made through the commodity exchange, foreclosure through a mortgage, including without a court decision, etc. All such documents may be reliable. We only strongly recommend that you double-check again in such cases, ”says Alexander Borodkin, partner, head of the Construction and Real Estate practice at Vasil Kisil & Partners Law Firm.

In Ukraine, publicly available resources are already working quite well, in particular, the Register of Rights to Real Estate, the State Land Cadastre, the Register of Judicial Decisions and others. In them you can independently check most of the information about the property of interest and the land on which it is located.

Related article: How to transfer residential premises into non-residential premises: the procedure and innovations

“Access is paid, but moderately. Moreover, these resources are available online. The mentioned registers should display current information about registered rights, their encumbrances and other details about the site. From what is usually more difficult to verify on your own, we advise asking the seller and researching the history of the acquisition of real estate, preferably as deep as possible – before its construction or at least privatization. The statute of limitations has been set to 3 years, but some historical shortcomings can also respond from ancient times: violations during acceptance into operation or privatization, alienation without the consent of spouses, violation of the rights of minors and the legally incompetent, common property, unauthorized reconstruction and conversion, change of purpose and other issues.

Of course, notaries and real estate brokers also help in all of these checks. But you need to understand that the function of a notary is rather limited, and the broker has a direct interest in completing the transaction and getting his commission. So it’s always better to double-check with a competent lawyer, whose sole task is to protect his ward about possible risks and losses, ”the expert advises.

Related article: How to arrange an inheritance in Ukraine and legally inherit an apartment, house, land

How to understand that a document is fake
There are common features for various groups of documents that could indicate their authenticity. According to Maxim Blizinsky, senior lawyer of AS Legal, the following main types of documents of title can be distinguished.

Documents for the privatization of housing (certificate of privatization of housing). They must bear the seal of the privatization body and the signature of the head of the privatization body, with the obligatory presence of the issue date and registration number.
Contracts for the sale, gift, section, allotment, exchange, certificate of ownership of the estate – made on a special notarial form, certified by the signature and seal of the notary. Each document has its own individual registration number, indicating the date and place of the notarial action. Depending on the specific type of document, be sure to have

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