Local Authority Searches - The Basics
A local authority search will be completed by your solicitor, once you have had your offer on the property accepted and the purchasing process is underway. Normally, the searches will take approximately 5 days to complete, although it is possible in some instances to obtain the results within 24 hours.
More local authorities are now offering online searches which return results instantaneously and, therefore, do not hold up the process.
Typical Local Authority Searches
The types of searches that are carried out will depend on the type of property and the planned use for this property, although certain searches are standard, such as Local Land Charges and Compulsory Purchase Orders. A general Local Authority Search includes both of the above as well as Local Financial Charges and Planning Applications.
This search is absolutely critical as it will reveal aspects of the immediate locality that do not appear on the Land Registry Record for that individual property, yet may be extremely influential to the purchase decision and the true value of the property.
More Specialist Searches
When considering the purchase of a rural property with land or a building plot, it is generally considered prudent to complete a Common Land Search or, as it is commonly known, a Commons Registration. This search is particularly important for land that could, at some point, have been a town or village green or have belonged to the Lord of the Manor. This search will reveal whether any of the land that you are considering purchasing is subject to a public right of way that could prevent any development that you may be planning.
A Planning Review is also a very good idea, particularly in areas that are undergoing considerable development. This search will provide information on any residential, commercial or civic projects that have been undertaken in the last 5 years. It may also uncover any locally sensitive sites that could restrict development and any existing and planned mobile mast information including height, frequency and transmitter power. You will also receive more general information about the council tax bands and local schools, etc.
Local Authority searches are always conducted as part of the property purchase process;
a basic search will almost always be carried out and includes specific information such as any compulsory purchase orders that may exist on the property;
more specialist searches may also be undertaken when deemed necessary, such as Commons Registration and Planning Reviews.