What is a local search?
When you buy a house your solicitor will make a search of the Council's records to ensure that there are no hidden surprises, such as motorways at the back of your garden, outstanding financial charges served on previous owners or plans for development within close proximity to the property. The search is made up of two standard forms.
Firstly the LLC1 (Official Requisition of Search), which discloses the registered entries affecting the property. Entries appearing may be conditional planning consents, conservation areas, tree preservation orders, council grants that may need to be repaid, agreement and identification of the property as a building of special architectural or historical interests. All of these and many more entries place some kind of restriction on the property or area that the property is situated within. This is not necessarily bad, as it is important to know for example that your property has been built or converted in accordance with the planning permission issued.
Secondly the CON 29 (Enquiries of the Local Authority), this form consists of a number of predetermined questions concerning the following areas:
- Environmental Health
- Building Control
The CON 29 has a number of questions that are always asked and a number of predetermined but optional questions for which an additional fee is charged. It is advisable to look at these questions with your solicitor prior to your application being placed with the property you are purchasing.
In some cases it is also possible to ask an additional enquiry of your own, again an additional fee is charged. Some solicitors already have additional questions that they ask, such as information concerning recent planning applications on adjoining properties; again ask your solicitor for assistance.
You can also ask if particular roads or footpaths in the vicinity of your property are publicly maintained, for example a footpath to the rear or side of your property. Ask your solicitor to identify these roads and footpaths on your search.
On the completion of the LLC1 and CON 29, which usually takes around 4 - 6 working days, the Local Land Charges section returns the completed forms and questions to your solicitor.