Conveyancing Local Searches Taking A While

Conveyancing: Local Searches Taking A While?

Local Searches

Both buyers and sellers can get frustrated by the delay in receiving the result of their local authority searches. This is commonplace with many local authorities. When considering searches, an official or a regulated (personal) local search can be carried out.

  • More lenders are now accepting official searches in addition to regulated searches
  • You will also need to consider how quickly searches will return
  • searches can take anywhere between 10-20 days to return
  • Other factors such as links in the chain and queries and responses to searches can also cause further delays
  • Further searches in addition to the initial searches may need to be carried out
  • You may be able to take out a local search delay indemnity policy if needed and approved by your lender
  • Searches are optional if buying with cash, but highly recommended (your solicitor will require you to take out sign a disclaimer)

Most high street lenders now accept regulated local authority searches. When deciding which search to carry out, you will need to consider the cost, speed and how it will affect the transaction. Delays in receiving the search results can have an impact on the length of time it could take to complete on a sale. If you are in a chain, it’s difficult to judge which search is better, as the speed of the transaction will depend on other parties in the chain.

Local searches are specific to the property you are buying. They’re carried out by the local authority the property is situated in. If you are having a mortgage your conveyancer must carry out a local search. If you are a cash buyer it is your choice whether you have a local search, although it is strongly recommended. If you do not wish to carry out any searches, your conveyancer will ask you to sign a search disclaimer.

Conveyancing Local Searches Taking A While

Why Do I Need A Local Search?

Searches can reveal information that will be vital to you as the future owner of the property. So, the time and effort spent on this part of the conveyancing process is extremely important to you as a buyer and to your lender.

What Does A Local Search Tell Me?

There are 2 parts to a local search:

• LLC1: This reveals entries on the local land charges register which are binding on successive owners of the property. Local Land Charges place obligations or restrictions on the property owner. The most common ones are Planning Agreements, Tree Preservation orders, Conservation Areas, Improvement grants and Smoke Control orders.

• CON29: This is a standard set of questions which relate to the property and the surrounding area. It will reveal details of planning and building regulation applications specific to the property, any enforcement action taken by the Council, of the nearest public highways, road and railway schemes, radon and contaminated land entries.

The Local Search is very important as it will confirm whether the appropriate permissions were granted for the construction of the property and any subsequent alterations or extensions. It will also highlight any issues affecting the property. Such as compulsory purchase orders, planning enforcement action, road and rail schemes in the immediate vicinity of the property, and any contaminated land entries. Further enquiries will need to be made with the seller’s conveyancer too. These will uncover any entries on the local search which could affect your enjoyment, proposed use of the property and ultimately any Lenders valuation of the property.

What Is The Difference In The Searches?

There are two ways of obtaining the information from the Council. You can request an Official search or a Regulated (Personal) search.

The Official Search is carried out directly by the council staff and stamped by the council officer. Council results are coming back quicker than regulated searches, 10-15 workings days, however this is subject to change on a daily basis. The official local search is more expensive, on average £37 more expensive.

Regulated (Personal) searches are carried out by a local search provider. The search company makes an appointment to inspect the council’s records. Regulated searches are often cheaper and are covered by insurance. The search provider must be regulated by the Property Codes Compliance Board. Very often search companies provide a bundle of searches. E.g. local, drainage, mining and environmental and as a result can offer discounts.

How Long Will My Search Take To Come Back?

Obtaining an appointment is taking approximately 17 days. However this can vary from each search area. Search appointments can take up to 20 days. Search results often take 10+ working days.

How Can I Speed Up My Transaction?

Both searches provide the same details. A regulated search may be quicker and cost less and local authority fees and time-scales can vary. Whilst official searches are quicker now, this was not the case earlier in the year. Therefore, your conveyancer should obtain an estimated delivery time for your local search result and communicate with the rest of the chain. Delays in the conveyancing process can usually be resolved by everyone working together.

Can I Take Out Insurance?

If your search is delayed, your conveyancer can look at the possibility of obtaining a local search delay indemnity policy. This is an insurance policy which covers the risk of something negatively affecting the value of a property, which would have been revealed had searches been carried out. If you have a lender, your lender must agree to this course of action.

If your lender agrees to proceed on this basis your conveyancer will also need to advise you of the risks and what the policy covers, before you can proceed. Whilst search insurance provides some cover in the case of a reduction in the value of a property; sometimes the matters noted in the local search may be enough to put you off buying the house completely.

A planned road or railway scheme could negate an aspect of the property which had been a major selling point. Alternatively, you may have planned to cut down several trees to allow more light; only to find out following completion that the trees are subject to a tree preservation order and that this is not possible. But insurance does not offer any protection to your living quality once you have moved in and it is important that you discuss this with your conveyancer.

You may also find our article on common survey concerns useful as these can often add further delay to a sale if not handled efficiently.

If you would like further information on local searches or any aspect of conveyancing, you can reach out to us and we can even help by putting you in touch with one of our conveyancers.