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Local Searches (2)

A local search (more properly 'Local Searches and Enquiries') are a long series of questions, which we ask on your behalf of the local authority about any property you intend to purchase. Clients should understand both what is covered, and possibly more importantly, what is not covered.

First, 'Why?' and 'Must I?' To the second, the answer is 'Yes' if you are getting a loan, and you definitely should even if you don't have a loan.

Why? A house may have been where it is for a hundred years, and the land it is built upon will usually be as old as ... well .. it will be very old. All sorts of rights and duties attach to land. Many are not in any visible from an inspection, and nor can they be deduced from the deeds. Some aspects are recorded locally and can be revealed by the local search.

A regular source of unhappiness are two severe limitations.

  1. An idea may be in somebody's mind to carry out development affecting the property. That idea may become in turn, a plan, a sketch, an application, a decision, and eventually take physical shape. At what point can such developments become registrable? Different rules apply to different procedures, but in general, unless an application has actually been made, it will not show up in a local search. This may be so, even if the plan is the subject of common gossip locally. How can such matters be registered? As they say, it may never happen.
  2. When is next door, next door? A search enquires in respect of a particular property. A property may be affected by an application relating to the house next door. It may equally be affected by an application to build a motorway a mile away (we live one and a half miles from the M62, and we can hear the rumble in the garden). Any search must be arbitrarily limited. Some relate for example to developments within for example 200 yards, but most limit themselves to the exact property against which the search is made.

An important example are planning searches. A search will not reveal a plan to develop a site where an application has not yet been made, it will not reveal an application against a property which is not immediately adjacent to the plot searched, and when it does reveal an entry, it reveals only the entry, and not, for example, the detailed terms of a permission.

Your local search must be limited in many arbitrary ways, and may prove deficient at some point just beyond that limit. You must therefore report to us any circumstance which you hear about which suggests any reason to extend our enquiries.

Searches can be either 'official' or private. The proivate searches are usually quicker and cheaper. We will use a private search agent unless you or your lender ask for an fully official search.

Important: Please note that our law-bytes are retained for archival purposes only. The law changes, and these notes are often, now, out of date. You must take direct advice on your own personal situation and the law as it currently stands.
All information on this site is in general and summary form only. The content of any page on this site may be out of date and or incomplete, and you should not not rely directly upon it. Take direct professional legal advice which reflects your own particular situation.
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18 October 2013 195 18 October 2013