Local Authority Searches

A local authority search, also known as a local search or local authority check, is a crucial part of the conveyancing process in the UK. It involves obtaining information from the local council or relevant local authority about the property you intend to purchase. The purpose of the local authority search is to uncover any potential issues or restrictions that may affect the property.

Here's what a local authority search typically entails:

  1. Planning Applications and Permissions: The search will reveal whether any planning applications have been made for the property or nearby areas. It provides information about approved or pending applications, which may include proposed developments or changes in the vicinity that could impact the property's value or desirability.

  2. Building Regulations: The search confirms if the property has received the necessary building regulation approvals for any alterations or extensions. It ensures that any structural changes made to the property comply with the building regulations and have been signed off by the local authority.

  3. Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings: The search identifies whether the property is located within a conservation area or if it is a listed building. This information is essential as it may impose certain restrictions on alterations or renovations to the property, preserving its historical or architectural significance.

  4. Highway Adoption: The search determines if the roads and footpaths around the property are adopted by the local authority. If they are not adopted, it may mean that the responsibility for their maintenance falls on the property owner, which could have financial implications.

  5. Public Paths and Rights of Way: The search reveals if any public rights of way or footpaths run through or adjacent to the property. This information is important as it affects access rights and potential limitations on future development or alterations.

  6. Environmental Factors: The search provides information on environmental issues such as contamination, radon gas, and flood risk assessments. It helps identify any potential environmental hazards or risks associated with the property that may impact its habitability, insurance costs, or resale value.

  7. Other Matters: Depending on the local authority, additional information may be included in the search, such as nearby infrastructure projects, road schemes, noise abatement zones, or public safety notices.

The local authority search report is typically prepared by the buyer's solicitor or conveyancer, who submits a formal request to the local authority. The search report is then reviewed by the buyer's legal representative, who examines the findings and advises the buyer on any issues or concerns that may arise.

Obtaining a local authority search is essential to gain a comprehensive understanding of the property and its surroundings. It helps ensure that you are fully aware of any potential liabilities, restrictions, or issues before committing to the purchase.