Buying A Property Local Authority Search

Date Added 30.11.16

When buying a property, whether it is a new build or an older property, you are always recommended to obtain a Local Authority Search (it is compulsory if you are obtaining a mortgage, although if you are what is known as a cash buyer, you are not required to obtain any searches). Set out below are two of the most common questions raised in respect of a Local Authority Search and the response to the same.

So, what is a Local Authority Search and what does it cover?

Effectively, it is a set of standard enquiries raised with the Local Authority on behalf of a purchaser by their solicitor. These enquiries cover general planning and building regulations information, whether roadways and foot paths leading to the property are adopted as a public highway, road and rail schemes which could affect the property, matters regarding outstanding notices of breaches of planning or building regulations legislation, information regarding Smoke Control or Conservation areas and if the property is Listed for any reason, to name but a few enquiries.

Does a Local Authority Search cover more than one property?

A Local Authority Search is what is known as a site-specific search and will only relate to the property which you are buying. It will not provide additional information regarding planning matters for a neighbouring property.

In the event that you are buying a property in a built-up area, this may not be of too great a concern, as it is unlikely that the owners of neighbouring properties will be able to make too many alterations, as they will be constrained by the planning legislation covering extensions to buildings and construction within the curtilage of a property.

If, however, you are buying a new build property, the risk of a neighbouring land owners applying for permission to alter their property in some way may be greater. This is because the majority of new builds tend to be erected in areas where further development is possible and this means that each land owners may want to take advantage of the opportunity to do so.

If you have concerns regarding potential development of neighbouring land, it is best to make enquiries of the Local Authority in first instance and then let your solicitor know of your concerns.  The Solicitor can then advise you further as to what additional searches are available.

Please note, even if all the searches have been undertaken and are clear at the time of purchase, this does not stop a neighbouring land owner submitting planning applications following completion of your purchase.

Talk to Tollers on 01536 276 727 about your concerns regarding buying new builds, development of neighbouring properties and Local Authority Searches.

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