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A Local Authority Search is one of the most important elements of conveyancing for home buyers.

Searches are vital, but many buyers don’t quite understand why they are needed and what they involve.

Searches are solicitor enquiries

In simple terms, searches are enquiries made by a conveyancing solicitor about the property their client intends to buy.

They send requests to relevant authorities, such as the local council, water and sewerage companies.

The results will then allow your solicitor to build a complete picture of the property and its surroundings.

Here’s Homeward Legal’s quick and easy guide to the biggest of those enquiries, the Local Authority Search.

Lenders demand Local Authority Search

This search is a compulsory requirement for lenders. Therefore, your solicitor must instruct the search when you’re getting a mortgage to buy a home.

The solicitor can choose between two different searches: A Local Authority Search (Personal) and a Council Local Authority Search (Official).

Each contains broadly the same information. The difference is in who does the collating of the information. The Personal search is a little cheaper and occasionally faster.

Essential information on property

What the search reveals:

  • Past and future planning permissions (granted and refused)
  • Building regulation enforcement notices
  • Nearby road schemes
  • Nearby railway lines
  • Contaminated land
  • Radon gas

The location and history of the property might mean more information is required. That information will come from optional questions posed in the Local Authority Search.

This can include information on road proposals by private bodies and on houses in multiple occupation.

Options for searches

The Official search is carried out by council officials. Depending on the location of your property, this search can take anything from 12 working days to several weeks.

Your conveyancing solicitor will explain all your options.

If you have any questions on any conveyancing search, the Homeward Legal are available seven days a week. Call 0800 038 6699.