Buying property, be it a house, flat, pony paddock, block of agricultural land or building plot is a major undertaking. It is probably the single most expensive investment you will ever make.
It is essential that you know everything you possibly can about the property you are taking on and are aware of any factors which may affect its future use.
In most cases, when a property or parcel of land is purchased, leased or mortgaged a request is sent to the Local Land Charges Department at the Council for a Local Search. This search is usually submitted by your solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
In simple terms, this search is an investigation into any information held by the Local Authority relating to a specific property or parcel of land and is usually required by the lender (i.e. your bank or building society) as a condition of securing a mortgage loan.
A basic search comprises two parts:
- the Official Certificate of Search which reveals all entries listed in the Local Land Charges Register
- the Con 29 Enquiries Form which consists of a series of standard questions.
Information obtained from the search could provide answers to many of the following questions:-
- Are there any planning conditions affecting the use of the property i.e. agricultural occupancy condition?
- Is the house in a Conservation Area?
- Who maintains the roadway and footpath outside the front door?
- Are the trees in the back garden protected by a Tree Preservation Order?
- Is the property Listed?
- Are there any financial charges/debts secured against the property?
- Are there any proposals to construct a new road or railway in the immediate vicinity?
- Will the Council be introducing traffic calming, road restrictions or even residents’ parking?
- Is any extension built over a sewer and does it have building regulation consent?