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What are Property Searches

Most people know that when they buy a property your solicitor carries out “searches” on their behalf. What is not so well known is what the purpose of these searches are and what sort of things may be found? There are three standard searches that are normally undertaken by the solicitor on your behalf:

Local Authority Search

The Local Authority Search is made up of two parts; the LLC1 and the CON29. These are normally submitted together with a location plan by the solicitor acting on your behalf. Form LLC1 is a search of the local land charges register and will tell you if, for example, the property is a listed building or if it is in a conservation area or smoke control zone. It will also tell you if any trees on the property are protected by tree preservation orders. There are strict planning rules for those types of properties and you may not be able to extend or build without special consent. The CON29 contains a series of “warning” questions. Examples of the information can only be found by submitting a CON 29 are:

  • Compulsory Purchase Orders.
  • Proposed Tree Preservation Orders.
  • Many informal notices under planning and highways laws not found on any register.
  • Road proposals or schemes (including road widening).
  • Proposed enforcement action or breach of planning or building regulation condition notices.
  • Whether any financial charges affect the property which would be the responsibility of the Home Owner. One example of this may include a Community Infrastructure Levy which may be payable if the property has had extensive works carried out or where the property is newly built. This is normally the liability of the developer but if it is not paid then the liability transfers to the Home Owner so it is essential that we know about it.

A local search is for the specific property only; it will not provide any information about any nearby properties outside of its boundaries. If you have concerns about any neighbouring land you should inform us so that we can make the relevant enquiries.

Water Drainage Search

This search provides confirmation of whether a property is connected to a public sewer, septic tank or other private disposal facilities. It will also confirm if the property is connected to a public or private water supply and provide details of how the property is billed for its water supply and wastewater disposal (either ratable value or water meter). Finally the report will confirm if the property is close to or affected by water mains or public sewers.

Environmental Search

An environmental search is a search carried out by a specialist environmental search company of past land use records relating to the area, to check whether the land is likely to be contaminated land within the meaning of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.   This is a desk top search and does not involve a physical inspection of the site by the search company.

Additional Searches

Additional searches, such as mining searches or railway searches amongst others, may also be required depending on the location of the property.