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National Conveyancing Week - Searches

A photo of Sarah Workman
22nd March 2023

As your Conveyancer, we will carry out searches on your behalf when you are purchasing a property. These searches are essential in order to identify potential issues, and a brief summary of what is included in the searches is below;

Local Authority Search

The Local Authority Search (normally just referred to as the Local Search) is arguably one of the most important searches that a Conveyancer will carry out. This search is conducted with the local Council (normally thorough a search agent) and will reveal important information about the property. The search will provide information on any Planning Permissions, Building Regulations, or Enforcement Notices that have been issued against the property. It will also reveal if the property is located in a conservation area and whether it is a listed building. The Local Search will also confirm whether the roads are adopted (whether they are maintainable at public expense), whether there are any public footpaths, bridal ways etc. The search will show whether there are any planning designations and proposals, nearby road, rail or traffic schemes, and whether the property has a compulsory purchase order.

Drainage and Water Search

The Drainage and Water Search is carried out with the Water Company responsible for the area in which the property is located. This search will reveal if the property is connected to the mains water supply, whether the property is connected for mains drainage and sewerage, and whether surface water drains to a public. The search will also provide information on any public sewers or pipes that run through the property and whether water charges at the property are raised on a measured or unmeasured basis.

Environmental Search

The Environmental Search is carried out to identify any environmental risks that may affect the property. This search will reveal information about contaminated land or potential hazards in the surrounding area. The search will also identify any previous land use that may have resulted in contamination, such as previous industrial use. The search will confirm whether there are any ground stability issues and if so, whether these issues are natural ground stability issues or non-natural. The report gives details of whether the property is in a radon affected area, whether there are any energy farms/solar farms within 10k of the property. Planning constraints will also be shown (for example conservation areas, green belt etc) and planning applications at the date of the search will also be listed.

The above are the standard basic searches your conveyancer will carry out. There will be other searches that may be required having checked the contract documentation, and also after received results of other searches, such as a Chancel Repair Liability Search, Flood Report, Mining Search. If there is a large open space near the property, a Devassess Report may be recommended to ascertain the likelihood of development on that land. Your Conveyancer will advise you as to which searches they need to carry out, and the cost of these, and they will report to you, in full, on the searches before exchange of contracts.

Tomorrow’s blog will give more information about your mortgage, surveys and the exchange of contracts process.

Thomas Flavell & Sons, specialist Conveyancing Solicitors in the Midlands - Proud to Support National Conveyancing Week 2023.