A number of searches are carried out to find out more about the property you wish to purchase. These include a Local Authority Search, Environmental Search and Drainage and Water Search, and may also include additional searches that your conveyancer identifies are needed (such as HS2, Mining or Chancel). Searches can cost anything from £200 to £500 in total.
Local Authority Search (£100 - £200)
Local authority searches involve checking the records of your local council to see whether there is anything locally that could impact your property. It comprises of two parts, the official certificate of search (known as LLC1) and a CON29 enquiries form
LLC1 reveals any entries listed in the local land charges register and identifies legal restrictions (known as charges) such as:
tree preservation orders
listed building entries
planning permissions and restrictions
highway rights and proposals
development proposals for the property
environmental health notices
CON29 is a set of nationally agreed questions which aims to identify not only current information, but also developments that are in the pipeline (either approved or under consideration).
The price of these searches can vary drastically depending on whether your conveyancer sources these searches directly from the local authority or instead obtains a Regulated Local Authority Search through a private search company. Searches obtained from local authorities vary in cost between authorities, and can cost as little as (X in X) to as much as X in X.
If you are purchasing a property and want to make enquires about planning consents and applications on properties close to the property you are purchasing, you can request additional planning searches be made against those properties.
Drainage and Water Search (£35 - £70)
This search identifies the drainage and water connections to the property, in order to ensure that the property is connected to both the fresh water mains along with the sewerage network. The search can be sourced directly from your local water company, or else a private search company may provide a Regulated Drainage & Water search instead.
Environmental Search (£40 - £60)
This search will identify specific environmental concerns, such as the property being close to contaminated land, or land used for industry in the past. It may also identify if their is a radon gas risk associated with the property (in which case a radon report may subsequently be ordered), or if the property is close to overhead electricity pylons or mobile telephone masts.
Flood Report (£20 - £40)
This will identify whether your property is at risk of flooding, based on its location and making use of historical flood data. These are often ordered in areas where there is a high potential risk of flooding to the property (properties close to seas, rivers etc.). You can check if you are at long-term risk of flooding using flood maps for England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Coal Mining Search (£40 - £60)
These are recommended when the property you wish to purchase is located in an area with a history of coal mining, where coal deposits are known to exist. The search will identify any records of old mining works in the area as well as any past subsidence claims. You can check if you need a coal search on the coal authority website.
Tin Mining Search (£70 - £120)
Tin and other metals have been mined in some parts of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and West Wiltshire. The search will identify any records of old mining works in the area as well as any past subsidence claims. You can check if your property might need a tin mining search using the Minescanner tool.
Since October 2006, these searches have been included as part of the CON 29M mining search. This search identifies properties that may have been affected by brine pumping operations. This mostly affects properties in some parts of Cheshire. You can find out more about the history of brine pumping as a source of salt at cheshirebrine.com and view the affected areas on the Cheshire East Council Minerals Local Plan.
Chancel Search (£10 - £20)
Some properties may be liable to contribute to the cost of repairing the local parish church, in which case your conveyancer may recommend you take out Chancel Indemnity Insurance (£10 - £50).
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