Searches are enquiries that are made when purchasing a property. The enquiries are made with the authority direct and they will charge a fee for providing the information. Below is a list of possible searches available and not all will apply in all cases.
They are categorised into those that are generally required when buying with a mortgage (unless there is an up to date HIP), those that are optional and those that are specific to a particular area in the UK.
1. SEARCHES THAT ARE REQUIRED WHEN BUYING A MORTGAGE
Local Authority Search
This search is made to the Local Authority of the property being purchased. For instance, the Local Authority for the centre of Nottingham is Nottingham City Council. Amongst other issues this search will show:
- All planning matters. This would include planning matters made in recent years and the result of the applications, building regulations applications and any enforcement proceedings for breaches of any planning or building regulations.
- Roads. It will tell us whether the roads around the property are public roads or not. It will also tell us whether there are any road schemes within 200 meters of the property and will give details of traffic schemes.
- Contaminated Land. It will give details of any entries in the property register. However, it will not give a full report and if this is a concern you should opt for an Environmental Search (see below).
- Railways and Tramlines. It will give details of any proposed railway or tram schemes within 200 metres of the property.
- Compulsory Purchase Orders. It will give details of whether the property is subject to Compulsory Purchase which means that the Local Authority could order that you vacate the property (in exchange for compensation) for the purposes of planning or development.
- Outstanding Notices. For instance, it will give details of whether a Repair Notice has been issued against the property. The result of which is that the owner of the property would have to pay for the repairs.
The fee for the Local Authority Search varies from area to area. We give details of the Local Authority Search fee, if this is required, when we provide a quote.
Coal Mining Search
This Search is made to the Coal Authority and will show whether the property has been mined under and if so when. It will also give details of subsidence claims over the last 20 years. This Search is compulsory (in a former mining area) if you are buying with a mortgage or remortgaging. This is highly recommended by us however in such areas even if you are not buying with a Mortgage. We rely on guidance from the Coal Authority as to which areas require a Mining Search.
This search will indicate if the property is connected to both the foul drainage and service drainage. We will also be sent a map showing the location of public sewers and the mains drainage.The fee for this search differs depending on which water company the search has to be obtained from.
OS1 (Land Registry Search)
This search checks that no applications have been made to the Land Registry that could prevent the property being owned by the purchaser such as a Caution or Restriction.
Bankruptcy Search (Land Charges Search)
This search checks whether any of the purchasers have previously been registered as bankrupt and is compulsory when buying with a mortgage or remortgaging.
2. OPTIONAL SEARCHES
These are searches that are optional and can be undertaken if there is a particular issue of concern:
This search deals with issues of contamination which can affect the value of the property. Also, if contamination is found after the property is purchased, the new owner will be responsible for any clean up costs. This search will therefore check:
- The position of any registered Landfill sites;
- The position of any stores of hazardous substances;
- Any waste treatment sites
- Any treatment of radioactive substances
- Any regulated air pollution
- Any pylons, masts or overhead transmission lines.
We strongly recommend you carry out an Environmental Search.
The search company we use also provides protection should any issues arise that are not found on the search.
Home Environmental Liability Policy (HELP)
In addition, there is a special type of insurance policy which can cover any costs of clean up. This is called a Home Environmental Liability Policy. This can be purchased at the same time as the Environmental Search, after the search has been issued or instead or an Environmental Search. However, the premium is lower if it is purchased at the same time as the search and it is therefore cheaper. If you want to discuss this further then please contact us.
This is an optional search. If your property is in a certain type of Church of England parish there may be a liability to make payment towards church repairs and these could be substantial. A Chancel Check will check this and if need be specialist insurance can be obtained. Please see www.clsl.co.uk for further details.
This is an optional search. According to the Environmental Agency, approximately 2 million properties are located in flood risk areas. A flood check reveals whether your property is at risk. If you have any concerns we would urge you to obtain a report.
Common Land Search (Commons Registration)
This search is usually made on land that has never been built on or which at one time may have belonged to a Lord of the Manor, a town or Village Green.
National Grid Search
This search provides details of any existing or proposed overhead or underground electricity equipment affecting the property and advises whether there is an electricity supply for the property, its location and capacity. If the property is not connected then the search will advise where the nearest available mains connections is and requirements in relation to provision of a future supply.
This search checks whether the property is a Radon affected area. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas which can be dangerous to humans.
Civil Aviation Authority
This search includes information on proposed developments in relation to aviation that may affect the property
3. SEARCHES THAT ARE SPECIFIC TO A PARTICULAR AREA
A Cheshire Brine Search is required in areas of Cheshire where there has been salt mining. The cost of the search is £33.60
Cornwall and West Devon
A Tin Mining Search should always be carried out in Cornwall and West Devon. The search will provide details of past workings that could cause subsidence.
China Clay mining has taken place around Cornwall and West Devon. The main Clay Mining areas are around St. Austell and Dartmoor. We recommend that any purchaser buying a property in these areas carry out a China Clay Search to determine whether the property is likely to be affected by clay deposits or if there is a risk of subsidence.
If necessary it is possible to have a London Underground Search in areas where underground lines are suspected or apparent. The information provided will include:
- If there are any underground railway lines underneath the property or close enough to consider them to affect the property and if so the route and depth or the tunnels from the surface of the land.
- Whether there are any proposals for the construction of new lines.
- Whether or not there are any rights or liabilities that have been obtained over the land.
Limestone mining was common in the West Midlands in the past. We recommend a prospective purchaser of a property in an area affected by previous limestone mining carry out a Limestone Search to establish whether the property is likely to be affected by subsidence.