Last week we looked at the various compulsory and optional searches that can be undertaken when you are purchasing a property. The majority of mortgage lenders will require a Local Authority Search to be carried out on the property and your Solicitor will be able to advise on any issues indicated by the search.
A Local Authority Search checks local databases to find out whether there are any obligations, restrictions or charges on the property. The Search is split into two parts; Local Land Charges and standard enquiries.
Local Land Charges
The Local Land Charges section will indicate whether there are any specific financial charges on the property. This includes, for example, a charge that the Local Authority has imposed on the property for breach of planning permission or building regulation approval laws or any other money owed to the Local Authority in respect of the property such as loans for home improvements.
This section will also indicate any planning applications that have been granted with restrictions or obligations on the property. Your solicitor will need to request copies of the applications to investigate what the restrictions and obligations are and how they will affect you.
The Local Land Charges section will also investigate road and traffic schemes, any listed buildings and any highways which are not adopted by the Local Authority meaning you will inherit a responsibility to maintain them.
The second section of the Local Authority Search gives responses to standard enquiries raised with the Local Authority and includes information on the following:
• Granted and rejected planning permission applications
• Building regulation approvals
• Listed building and conservation consent
• Designated land use
• Who is responsible for the roads?
• Any public rights of way affecting the property
• Any information the Local Authority is aware of regarding the drainage system
• Any nearby railway schemes
• Any traffic schemes
• Any statutory notices including any enforcement notices or breach of condition notices
• Any tree preservation orders
• Whether the property is in a conservation area
• Any information on contaminated land
• Green deal schemes available or used
The Local Authority Search is an extensive search with the information revealed being vital to a decision of whether to purchase a specific property.