The wait for the results of local authority searches to come back can often be an exasperating and lengthy one for both sellers and buyers impatient to get on with their house sale or purchase.
For one frustrated seller in Worthing, West Sussex, it all got too much recently. Ibrahim Conteh turned up at Worthing Borough Council’s headquarters with a placard that expressed his fury at the council’s delay in returning the local authority search upon which his sale depends.
The council admitted it had missed its 15-day target for responding to search requests, blaming staff sickness for the backlog that affected Mr Conteh’s property.
While local authority searches can be submitted and responded to electronically, there is a wide divergence in the response times from councils across England and Wales. This week the Ministry of Housing announced proposals to set a national deadline for local authority searches so buyers receive the information they need to proceed with a purchase within 10 days.
That change is unlikely to take effect before the end of the year. And as local authority searches are compulsory when buying with a mortgage, buyers still have no option but to wait for the council in the area where they’re buying to respond to search requests.
Personal alternative for buyers
Searches UK are able to provide an alternative that could be the ideal solution for buyers who require a quick turnaround on searches in areas where the councils are experiencing delays.
Whilst Council Local Authority Searches are carried out by the council and the results issued by the council, Regulated Local Authority Searches are a personal search in which a specialist search agent will gather the same information from relevant council departments, including planning, building control and highways. This means the search can often be done more effectively and quickly. Searches UK are able to offer clients both Regulated and Council Local Authority Searches to ensure clients have a choice about their preferred method of Local Authority Search.
Each search is composed of three elements – the LLC1 and CON29R Part 1 are the minimum requirement. The LLC1 contains a list of relevant entries in the Local Land Charge Register, while the CON29R provides details on past and future planning permission, building control information, enforcement notices, nearby road and rail schemes, contaminated land and radon gas.
In addition, optional CON29O Part 2 enquiries can be added. Those enquiries cover a range of topics, including road proposals by private bodies, public paths and byways, noise abatement and urban development areas.
A faster option
Both searches cover a total of 15 topics relating to the safety, quality and status of a property and the land it stands on.
A Regulated Local Authority Search will cover the subject property only and will not contain any information about neighbouring properties, such as planning applications, for example. However, all councils in England and Wales are covered by a personal search, offering clients who perhaps live in an area where the council is failing to return search results quickly a better option.
Another benefit of ordering a Regulated Local Authority Search through Searches UK is the peace of mind of knowing that each search is protected by both £2m professional indemnity insurance and £2 specialist search insurance.
Please be advised that turnaround times can differ at individual councils, so to ensure that we can providing the best service possible it would be advisable that you contact one of our conveyancing search specialists to discuss your requirements further.
Talk to Searches UK today about how Regulated Local Authority Searches can help you and your clients achieve a quicker turnaround time on their purchase.