Following the lead of Washington and Davidson counties, Hamilton County has unveiled a free system to help residents guard against real estate theft.
Real Estate theft, also known as Property Fraud or Deed Fraud, occurs when a criminal steals your identity, forges your name on a deed and takes ownership of the title of your home and/or property.
Marc Gravitt, Register of Deeds, presented the new system to the Hamilton County Commission on Wednesday, October 7th.
“The growing concern over theft of real estate through fraudulent recordings has been an increasing concern for property owners, law enforcement and the Register’s Office”, says Register Gravitt.
Gravitt stated that the the Alert System is an opt-in, opt-out program. The program will work with a personal name, business name or address.
To register for the service, Hamilton County resident’s must visit the Register’s website, register.hamiltontn.gov, and enter their contact and property information.
If a document is recorded that matches the information provided, the citizen will receive an email notification within a few minutes. They can then call the Register’s office to find out what has been recorded.
“We wanted to roll out this program as soon as possible, but also not before we felt confident it was ready. This program has gone through many, many months of testing. In fact, we are already working on enhancing the program in couple of months, to include sending text messages, and/or email notifications, ” Gravitt said.
After a document is recorded in the Register’s office, it requires a judge’s order for removal, even if the document is fraudulent.
Historically, property fraud can go undetected for a long while and cause serious problems for the actual property owner.
Depending on the case, the return of official title to the owner can be at the cost of thousands in legal fees.
To learn more about the free Hamilton County Register of Deeds Property Alert System and to sign up, visit their website here: register.hamiltontn.gov