Searches on Property

We are often asked about the searches required or advisable when purchasing or leasing a property. When we refer to a "buyer" we also mean a proposed buyer or proposed tenant.

The important factor is that there are lists and records kept in central registers which confirm whether a number of matters affect the property. When you buy or lease the property, you will be bound by them whether you are aware of them or not.

It is entirely at the buyer's risk to proceed without obtaining searches. We always advise obtaining the following searches:

Local Search

This is essentially a standard list of enquiries of the appropriate local authorities. It contains enquiries about (amongst other things) Planning and Building Regulation matters, Roads, Conservation Areas, Parks and Countryside issues, Pipelines and Noise Abatement.

Water and Drainage Search

This is a standard enquiry of the relevant water authority to confirm whether the property is connected to the mains drainage and mains sewer. The search result includes plans showing the location of the nearby mains so that it can be checked that these do not run through any buildings and that the property has the right to use them.

Environmental Search

If the property has had a historic industrial use, or there was one close by, there is the possibility that the land could contain contaminants. If these contaminants spread into surrounding land and cause damage, the owner of the property is strictly liable for the costs of such damage - whether or not they were aware of the contamination and whether or not they caused the contamination in the first place or the subsequent leak. Accordingly it is advisable to obtain this search which not only covers the historic use of the immediate area but also considers local flood plains, nearby licences to discharge and any hazardous uses in the immediate area. This search costs around £40 for a domestic property.

Plan Search

Will reveal any planning applications made within a 250-metre radius of the property. This search costs around £30.

Other Searches

It is possible that there may be other searches which you should obtain. We will advise you if they are likely to be required. These other searches include Mining Searches, Chancel Repair Searches and Gas pipeline Searches.

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