Local authority searches are an essential part of the home buying process. The information they reveal can be used to renegotiate your offer and may even make you pull out of the purchase. They are also required by mortgage lenders.
Local authority searches: Are there plans for a motorway in your new garden? How about radioactive gas?
- Checking the ‘title register’ and ‘title plan’ at the Land Registry– these are the legal documents proving the seller’s ownership. Both checks are legally required in order to sell
- Checking flood risk – this can also be done at the Land Registry. If you are already getting an environmental search, you might not buy this one separately as the search will contain much more thorough flood information and maps
- Water authority searches – find out how you get your water and if any public drains on the property might affect extensions or building works
- Chancel repair search – to ensure there are no potential leftover medieval liabilities on the property to help pay for church repairs. However, you may decide to take out Chancel repair insurance instead. The laws around Chancel repair changed in October 2013 so now the onus is on the Church to establish and lodge liability with the Land Registry
- Environmental Search – this report is used on the vast majority of transactions and is provided by either Landmark or Groundsure. Depending on which product your solicitor usually uses, the report will give information about contaminated land at or around the property, landfill sites, former and current industry, detailed flooding predictions, radon gas hazard, ground stability issues, and some other related information
Optional and location specific searches – sometimes extra searches are required or recommended depending on the location or type of property or due to particular concerns raised by the buyer.
These could include:
- Tin Mining searches in Cornwall
- Mining searches in various parts of the UK and Cheshire Brine searches
- Additional Local authority questions such as public paths, pipelines, noise abatement zones, common land, etc
The cost of these searches are often charged as extras, so make sure you factor them in to the conveyancing fees.