What are property searches and why do you need them?
It is essential that the necessary searches are carried out to identify any potential problems or issues and to ensure that these then can be resolved prior to your purchase. There are many different types of searches available from local governments, government agencies, utilities, the Land Registry and so on. Most common ones are:
Conveyancing Legal Executive
Local Authority Searches
The result of this search will provide information about planning, building regulations, building control, enforcement notices, preservation orders, planned road schemes, parking restrictions and compulsory purchase orders. It will also confirm whether or not the highway on which your property is located is either privately owned or maintained at the public expense. The local search may also reveal whether or not there are any financial charges registered against the property. Additional information can be requested in order to ascertain whether or not the property adjoins common land and would thereby be effected by the Commons Registration Act for rights of access.
This search will provide details of any problems with the surrounding area of the property such as flooding, subsidence or industrial contamination.
The most common of these searches is the water and drainage search which will give details of the infrastructure of the public water and sewer network connected to the property. It will confirm whether or not the property has the benefit of mains, drains and water and will highlight whether or not the property has the benefit of surface water drainage. Additional searches in respect of gas and electricity can also be undertaken and are often undertaken where development of the land is being considered.
Planning and Development Reports
Additional reports can be obtained in respect of development risks which may be situated within 75m of the property you intend to purchase. Additional searches can also be undertaken which may give valuable information on local amenities such as schools and health care facilities.
Sometimes due to the locality of the property further specialist searches may need to be undertaken. For example, if the property is in a mining area then a search of the coal authority for coal mining near the area may be useful to provide details of mine related subsidence damage and information on past coal mining. Again if the property is near British Waterways i.e canal or river then a search of the British Waterways could confirm whether rivers, streams or canals pass through the boundary and information on the riverbank ownership, drainage rights, fishing rights and licences.
This search is undertaken prior to exchange to give your application to register priority.
Overall, when purchasing a property the searches are extremely valuable and provide you with peace of mind that the property you are buying is not going to be effected by any particular issues or problems. If any are revealed then these will then be able to be dealt with prior to you committing to your purchase.
For further information please contact our Conveyancing team.