As a conveyancing solicitor we are often asked what are Local Authority Searches, why do we need them and what is covered in the searches. This post hopefully gives some insight.
What does my local search cover?
A local search is highly recommended in all purchases and is compulsory if you are purchasing with a mortgage lender.
There are two parts to a local authority search – a LLC1 and a CON29. The LLC1 – Local Land Charge Register search – covers any charges or attendant restrictions relating to land or property. These can include whether the property is:
- a listed building
- located in a conservation area since 1974
- subject to a tree preservation order
- in need of an improvement or renovation grant
- or situated in a smoke control zone
- conditional planning permissions
- Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
- any financial charges registered against the property
- planning enforcement notices.
The form also covers planning agreements and conditional planning permissions. All LLC1 registrations are legally binding on successive owners.
The second part of the search – the CON29 – supplies information relating to public highways, proposals for new roads, rail schemes or planning decisions that could directly affect the property, as well as outstanding statutory notices, breaches of planning or building regulations or the existence of a compulsory purchase order.
There are a few factors to consider before taking your Local Authority report at face value. Firstly, it is important to remember that local searches are often relevant to your property or street alone and might not cover developments located a short distance away (or even next door).
Reports can vary, so always be sure to check the area remit of your search or make additional enquiries at your local council. For example, you can search most planning applications by postcode on the local authority website for the area in which you are buying. It’s worth remembering that any planning proposals submitted after your search will not be covered.
You should be aware that the local search is specific to your property and the boundaries of it. The road and rail schemes will only appear if they are proposed and the centre line is within 200m of your property boundary.
What if I want to know more?
The search will not tell you about large developments i.e. a proposal to build over 50 properties, or any block of high-rise flats near you. If something like this is of interest to you and is likely to affect whether you go ahead with the purchase, we can offer an additional more in-depth search which goes into lot more detail regarding the surrounding area.
For £31.00 plus VAT (£37.20) it will tell you about large developments, small developments and house extensions, or proposed single new build properties.
If you are moving to a completely new area, it is helpful to know the local amenities etc. These are provided, along with details of education providers, local parks, police stations details of the council tax band costings,
This variable search distance is based on House of Commons Library data which categorizes areas according to the size of the settlement. These are usually split into three core categories. These categories are large urban, urban and rural and the following search distances apply:
- Large urban: 250m for large projects, 50m for small projects and house extensions
- Urban: 500m for large projects, 250m for small projects and 50m for house extensions
- Rural: 750m for large projects, 500m for small projects and 125m for house extensions
You should advise your Conveyancing Solicitor, as soon as possible, if you require this in addition to the standard local search, which focuses more on the property you are proposing to purchase.
If you would like a free consultation or to discuss how Exclusive Legal can assist you in your conveyancing needs, please contact us via the website or call us directly.