Felicity Barratt from IBB Solicitors offers a useful need-to know on searches.
Searches are necessary to discover if there are any issues affecting the property that need to be brought to the attention of the purchaser, developer or lender in a transaction or which could affect the value of the property.
When and how
Searches should be submitted either directly or via a search provider registered with the National Land Information Service (NLIS), a joint initiative between central and local government, as early as possible in a transaction. It can take several weeks for all search results to be received and should any issues be raised, it may take time for them to be resolved.
If results are needed quickly, it is usually possible to expedite them for an extra fee or to carry out certain searches in person. Searches should not be relied upon if they are more than three months old at the date of exchange of contracts.
What searches should be requested
There are many conveyancing searches that may be required depending on the type of property, its location, and if it is going to be developed. A lender may also have its own specific requirements as to searches. However, it is recommended that the following searches are performed on every property transaction:
|Type of search||Information provided|
|Local Land Charges||Details of local land charges including:
|Local Authority Search and additional questions||Details of matters affecting the property or local area including:
|Drainage and water enquiries||Information on water and drainage services to the property including:
|Official copies of the title and title plan||Confirms:
|Highways||Confirms whether the property abuts the highway and what roads are adopted and publicly maintainable.|
|Chancel Repair||Identifies any liability to pay for chancel repairs attaching to former rectorial land.|
|Environmental desktop survey||Assesses the risk of the property being designated as contaminated land.|
When the results are available, your solicitor will check they are satisfactory and clarify any issues with the search provider or authority or through raising pre-contract enquiries. If necessary, a more detailed search could be commissioned, or insurance obtained if appropriate. If the issue cannot be resolved, it may be necessary to deal with it in the contract, by a price reduction or if significant the purchaser may decide not to proceed.