Solicitors enquiries

In the conveyancing process, the term "enquiries" usually refers to a set of questions that the buyer's solicitor sends to the seller's solicitor. These enquiries are designed to learn more about the property being sold and any potential issues that might affect its value or the buyer's enjoyment of it.

Enquiries typically cover a wide range of issues, and are generally split into two categories:


  1. Pre-contract enquiries: These are specific questions about the property, its condition, its ownership, and any disputes or issues that might affect it. For example, the buyer's solicitor might ask if there are any planning permissions or building regulations associated with the property, if there have been any disputes with neighbours, or if there are any known defects with the property.
  2. Searches: These are formal enquiries made to various authorities and organisations to discover more about the property. They typically include:
    • Local authority searches: These check the local council's records for planning decisions, building control history, and any local issues that could affect the property (like road schemes or tree preservation orders).
    • Water and drainage search: This checks if the property is connected to the local water supply and sewage system.
    • Environmental search: This checks for issues like contamination, flooding, or ground stability that could affect the property.
    • Chancel repair search: This is to find out if the property has a potential liability to contribute towards the cost of repairs to a nearby church.
    • Land Registry searches: These confirm the seller's ownership of the property, and check for any mortgages, liens, or other charges against it.

While the exact questions can vary depending on the specific property and the circumstances of the sale, there are some common enquiries that are frequently asked during the conveyancing process when buying a property in the UK. Here are ten of them:

  1. Title Deeds and Boundaries: Is the seller in possession of the title deeds, and can they confirm the property boundaries as per the Land Registry documents?
  2. Disputes and Complaints: Have there been any disputes or complaints regarding the property or its boundaries, or with any neighbours?
  3. Planning Permission and Building Control: Have there been any planning applications regarding the property? If so, was planning permission granted and were building regulations complied with?
  4. Warranties and Guarantees: Are there any warranties or guarantees for the property, especially for any recent building work, and can these be transferred to the new owner?
  5. Utilities and Services: Can the seller provide details about the utilities and services (such as gas, electricity, and water supply) for the property?
  6. Fixtures and Fittings: What fixtures and fittings are included in the sale, and is there a list available?
  7. Council Tax and Energy Performance: What is the property's current council tax band, and is the Energy Performance Certificate available?
  8. Occupiers: Who currently occupies the property, and will the property be vacant on completion of the sale?
  9. Insurance: Has the property been under-insured or has it suffered from any damage such as subsidence, flooding, or fire?
  10. Environmental Risks: Are there any known environmental risks, like radon gas, flood risk, or land contamination?

The enquiries and searches are a crucial part of the conveyancing process because they help to ensure that the buyer knows exactly what they are buying, and that there are no unpleasant surprises after the purchase. The answers to the enquiries can influence the final decision to proceed with the purchase, renegotiate the price, or even withdraw from the sale.

The Upcoming Economic Downturn