Why Do I Need A Local Authority Search?

Whether you are buying a house or taking a lease of commercial premises, one of the most important searches that your solicitor will carry out as part of the conveyancing process is the local authority search.

The local authority search can reveal information about the property and the area which you may not know about .  It is intended to protect you from any nasty surprises after you have bought your new house.

If you are looking to buy a property with a mortgage then a local search is necessary to meet mortgage lenders requirements.

A local search reveals the following information:-

  • Whether roads and footpaths next to the property are publicly maintained
  • Whether there are plans for any new  road or rail schemes affecting the property
  •  Planning decisions affecting the property
  •  Whether the property is on contaminated land
  •  If the property is within a conservation area
  • Building regulations affecting the property
  •  Enforcement notices for breaches of planning permissions against the property
  • Charges recoverable by the local authority for works
  • Tree preservation orders
  • Listed building obligations
  • Compulsory purchase orders
  • If the property is within a smoke controlled zone
  • Whether the property is within a Radon gas affected area

However, there are limitations of a  local authority search -it only relates to the property that is being bought and does not give details of any proposals affecting other properties.   They are time sensitive – they do go out of date and must not be older than three months at the time of completion.  The older the search the less value it has.   It should be noted that if a planning proposal is made the day after the search is carried out, it would not be revealed in the search but it would still bind the property .

If you are a cash buyer you may not wish to bother with searches.   If you do not want to have a local search carried out, you could take out search indemnity insurance.  This will give you some protection if it turns out that there is an issue affecting the property.   However, it is always advisable to carry out a local search as  part of the due diligence process.

If you are buying or selling your property please contact Zahra Shah on zshah@meaby.co.uk or on 0207 703 5034.

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