What are Local Authority Searches?

| 5 min read

Local authority searches form an essential part of the conveyancing process when you are going to buy your desired property and should be completed before the exchange of contracts.

Through these searches, you will find important information regarding your desired property which you may not be aware of. Further, suppose you are taking out a mortgage. In that case, your mortgage lender will in all probability require you to carry out local authority search and additional searches before he agrees to lend you money.

How is a local authority search done and who does it?

Local authority search is done at the local authority office by submitting a request. If you are hiring a solicitor or licensed conveyancer, they will do in for you. Once they receive the draft of the contract for sale, your solicitor or licensed conveyancer will submit a request for search with the local authority.

What information will you obtain from local authority searches?

Local authority searches are comprised of two parts: an LLC1 and a CON29.

LLC1

LLC1 is the local land charge register search. You will get to know any charges or restrictions relating to the land or property through this search. This can include the following:

  • Whether the property is a listed building
  • Whether the property is located in a conservation area
  • Whether the property is subject to a tree protection order
  • Whether the property requires an improvement or renovation
  • Whether the property is located in a smoke control zone
  • Whether if the road and footpath
  • The Planning agreements and conditions planning permissions surrounding the property
  • Property boundaries and whether the seller is the real owner of the property

CON29

The second part of the local authority search is the CON29. This search will provide you with information relating to the following:

  •  public highways
  •  proposal for new roads
  • planning decision or rail schemes
  • outstanding statutory notices
  • breaches of planning or building regulation
  • existence of a compulsory purchase order

What do local authority searches not cover?

Local authority searches do not include several additional reports. You will have to pay extra fees for these reports, which include CON29(O), environmental searches, water authority searches, and chancel repair reports, to name a few. However, your solicitor or licensed conveyancer or your mortgage lender will determine the need to carry out such additional searches.

What are official searches?

The official method of local authority searches means that your solicitor or licensed conveyancer will directly send forms to the local authority. The council staff from the Local Land Charges Register will carry out the search. The council officer will then sign and stamp the form and return the information to your solicitor or licensed conveyancer.

Official Search cost

Official searches will cost you anywhere between £50 and £250. If you are required to carry out additional searches as suggested by your solicitor or licensed conveyancer, which will cost you in addition to the official search cost.

Further, official searches may also take a while (anywhere up to 10 weeks). Therefore, you should instruct your solicitor or licensed conveyancer to immediately carry out the necessary searches as soon as your offer has been accepted.

What is personal local authority search and how much does it cost?

A personal local authority search is carried out by an agency that works independently. It will cover precisely the same areas as the official search. The agency will charge you a fee in addition to the cost of the search. A personal local authority search will usually be quicker and cheaper than an official search.

They are also covered by specific information accuracy insurance policies an employer error liability. Consequently, many solicitors’ advice and recommend personal local authority searches. However, if you are taking a mortgage, your mortgage lender will inform you of the type of search he will require you to have conducted.

Do you need local authority search indemnity insurance?

You may take out local authority search indemnity insurance. This may increase your cost by a few hundred pounds, but if there are delays, you can proceed with purchasing your desired property in the absence of local authority search results.

However, be aware that you will be buying a property unaware of the detailed information about local issues and threats which your desired property may be facing. Click here to find out more regarding indemnity insurances.

Summary

Local authority searches provide you with vital information regarding the property you may otherwise not be aware of. With this information, you can make an informed decision whether you want to exchange contracts and bind yourself. You can also use this information to negotiate a better deal.

Please note that the information provided on this page:

  • Does not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law;
  • Does not constitute legal advice by Net Lawman;
  • Does not create a contractual relationship;
  • Does not form part of any other advice, whether paid or free.
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