UKLI set to warn consumers off land scam companies

July 15, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
UKLI has today issued a warning on its website amid growing concerns that there are a number of scam companies operating in the land investment market.

‘It has come to our attention that there are number of businesses that are advertising plots of land for less than £10,000 with promises or guarantees of obtaining planning permission within a couple of years – this offer sounds too good to be true because frankly, it is.’ Commented Brian Smith, Director of Strategic Land Buying at UK Land Investments (UKLI)

‘The only way any company could deliver on such a promise would be if the land had already been re-zoned for residential development or had been granted outline planning permission already – if this was the case then a typical plot of land in the South East with planning consent would be worth more than £100,000.

Clearly plots of land being offered for £10,000 or less with a promise of planning consent in a couple of years is a nonsense – they offer land at this price because typically it is cheap land without any real planning prospects.’

As a responsible business we are very concerned at the behaviour of these so called businesses because they are clearly intent on misleading customers to part with their hard-earned cash and we would urge anyone who is interested in land to carry out the following checks before the decide on whether to invest:

1. Check with the Land Registry that the land is actually owned by the company you are buying from.
2. Ask to meet their land buying and planning team – and ask them how they can promise planning permission
3. Check that their contract with you commits them to secure planning within their promised time-line
4. Ask to see their audited accounts to make sure they have enough funds to pay for planning
5. Ask to be taken to the site and ask their agent to talk you through why it is such a good site – if it is not next to current residential development then be very suspicious

Smith concluded, ‘we know from our own team of expert land buyers and planners that buying land can be an excellent, medium term investment with returns of up to 400% on land that is re-zoned for residential development - but we urge anyone looking at other businesses and considering land investment opportunities to be wary of any promises regarding planning permission.’