What is a Local Authority Search?
When buying a property your conveyancing lawyer will submit a Local Authority Search on your behalf. You will have to have one of these if you are getting a mortgage in order to meet your mortgage lender’s requirements. If you are a cash buyer you do not have to have the search conducted, but your conveyancing lawyer will always recommend one.
The search is undertaken at the Local Authority where the property is located and is not a physical search of the property or surrounding area.
The Local Authority Search will look at all information held by the Local Authority about the property.
The search will be submitted when your conveyancing solicitor receives the sale contract from your seller’s conveyancing lawyer. The search cannot be submitted before the contract is received as your conveyancing lawyer needs to see the title deeds and the property’s boundaries before submission.
A Local Authority Search will tell you:
- Whether the roads and footpaths adjoining the property are publicly maintained.
- Whether the council have in place any major road schemes close to the property and minor schemes affecting the property.
- All planning decisions affecting the property.
- Contaminated land in or around the property.
- Whether the property is in a conservation area, has a tree preservation order or compulsory purchase order over it.
- Enforcement notices for violation of planning permissions or other known breaches.
- Whether there are any charges/debts owing to the local authority in respect of the property (such as right to buy reduction) that will need to be paid off.
The search contains a list of standard enquiries but if there is something specific you need to know about the property you can ask your conveyancing solicitor to make specific enquiries. These can often be done as either part of the search or by way of separate written enquiry. There is often a further fee payable to the Local Authority for them to deal with these non-standard enquiries and your lawyer will investigate how much this will be and will pass the cost on without mark-up.
Each Local Authority has a different set of fees for a Local Authority Search and therefore it is important to check whether the fee for this search is fixed or unfixed in all your conveyancing quotes. At In-Deed the Local Authority Search is in our £260 search package, which is a fixed fee. This means that the cost of your Local Authority Search will be covered even if it is more!
Your conveyancing solicitor can request either a Personal Local Authority Search or an Official Local Authority Search. The majority of mortgage lenders will request a Personal Search, but occasionally a lender will want a more expensive Official Search. If your mortgage lender wants an Official Search we will cover the extra cost. If you decide you would like an Official Search instead of a Personal Search an extra fee may be applicable, your conveyancing lawyer will advise you of the extra cost before submitting the Local Authority Search.
Personal Local Authority Search
A Personal Search allows of the inspection of the Local Land Charges Register and other publicly available information by someone external to the council.
Official Local Authority Search
An Official Search is conducted by a council staff member who helps maintain the Local Land Chargers Register. The Certificate of Search will be signed by a council officer and stamped with the official council logo.
WARNING! – Any planning proposals or other applications that might affect the property that are submitted after the date of your Local Authority Search will not be covered. Therefore, if you are concerned about potential issues that arise during the course of your purchase please tell your property lawyer so they can make further enquiries on your behalf.