Searches are commissioned by your conveyancer soon after you have agreed to the T&Cs of your conveyancing solicitor or Licenced Conveyancer. Your conveyancer will request information from your local authority to confirm if there are any planned schemes or future developments that may affect the property.
They will also check if your property is located in an area prone to flooding or if your property has been built on land previously used for mining.
There are over 340 local authorities across the UK. Searches are managed differently depending on your local authority so turnaround time can take between 48 hours to several weeks for your search results to be returned.
Local searches can vary due to the method in which your local authority return search results. For example, if you receive your search results electronically via an online portal or email this will be much quicker than by post.
Many local authorities only have small teams working in the Land Charges departments, so during busy periods it could take longer for them to return your search results.
In February 2016, The Property Codes Compliance Board, the regulator for the Search Code of Practice, reported on the speed taken by different local authorities. Although many are providing a good service others are under performing, resulting in some property transactions collapsing due to delays. To help improve this situation, it has been requested that the industry analyse the local authorities and highlight who is carrying out efficient searches and who is failing to do so.
Local authority searches
A local authority search will provide you with detailed information about your property and the surrounding areas. This will give you peace of mind before going ahead with the purchase of your new home and ensure you avoid any nasty surprises in the future.
There are two parts to a local authority search, a LLC1 result and a CON29 result.
The LLC1 results will tell you the following information about your property:
- If your property is a listed building
- Located in a conservation area
- Situated in a tree preservation order area
- Need an improvement or renovation grant
- In a smoke control area
Any future development plans that could affect your propertyThe CON29 results are broken down into two different parts (required and optional). The required results will reveal:
- Proposals for new roads or traffic schemes
- Contaminated land
- Planning decisions affecting your property
- Building regulations
- If your property is in a Radon affected area
From time to time additional information may be required using the CON29 form. Examples include, road proposals by private bodies, completion notices, land maintenance notices and environmental and pollution notice.
Receive free instant quotes from our expert conveyancing solicitors who will carry out searches on your behalf.
Last reviewed March 2016.