What is a local authority search?
A local authority search is an important part of the conveyancing process. The search is undertaken by the local council or authority where the property is located. The search can reveal relevant information about the local area that could affect the property’s worth to the potential buyer and mortgage provider (or lender) and therefore protect the buyer from unanticipated eventualities.
Do I need one?
Yes, having a local authority search could reveal information that could affect how you use the property or what improvements or alterations can be made to it. It can also highlight some potential changes to the area that could affect how you feel about the property.
Information that is provided through a local authority search can also be used to renegotiate an offer that has been made on the property. It also allows the buyer the opportunity to pull out of the purchase if the search was to bring up anything unpleasant.
What do I get in a local authority search?
A local authority search consists of 2 separate parts, a LLC1 and a CON29. Requests for searches are usually made by a solicitor on behalf of the buyer. Any information revealed in the searches would be explained to a potential buyer by their solicitor.
The LLC1 provides information from the Local Land Charge Register in relation to restrictions that might affect what you can do with the property. It provides information about:
- Financial charges (registered against the property by the Local Authority or County Council)
- Planning agreements
- Tree preservation orders
- Enforcement notices
- Conditional planning consents
- Improvement grants
- Buildings of special architectural and historic interest. (Listed Buildings)
The CON29 contains 2 parts and answers a set of standard enquiries that potential buyers may want to know before purchasing. The first part, the CON29 R is information which the authority is required to provide and reveals issues such as:
- who maintains the road the property is on
- the planning history of the property
- the building control history of the property
- traffic schemes
- compulsory purchase orders
- proposed tree preservation orders
- other notices that may affect the property
The second part the CON29 O, which is a set of optional enquiries that can be requested by your conveyancing solicitors. Some mortgage lenders may require these additional searches as they can include information regarding:
- road proposals
- public footpaths
- noise abatement orders
- pollution notices
- common land and village greens
What’s an official search?
An official search is normally requested by the conveyancing solicitor through the submission of an application, in some cases through a specialist electronic database, to the relevant local authority. After which employees of the local authority will perform the search and supply the relevant report.
Depending on how many submissions the local authorities have had can greatly affect the amount of time it takes for them to reach your request.
What is a personal search?
A personal search is when an independent third party, normally part of a specialist private agency, will attend the local authority themselves in order to review and examine the records and provide a report consisting of the same information as an official search.
How long do they take?
The length of time it takes to obtain an LLC1 and CON29 search can vary greatly depending on the local authority. Some councils are capable of processing a request in 2-3days while most will require 2 – 4 weeks, however, it is not uncommon for searches to take up to 6-8 weeks.
In comparison a private search by an independent company can be achieved in 2-3 days.
View Example Local Search