At last, you have found your desired property, and had your tabled offer approved by the estate agent. As a first time buyer you might start to wonder what occurs next. Well, the next step is what is referred to as conveyancing. Conveyancing is the legal transfer of property rights and ownership from seller to buyer. A conveyancing solicitor normally conducts this process. Local authority searches are typical of any conveyancing process. This article takes a detailed look at what local authority search is, and its significance.

What's the importance of a local authority search?

The local authority search is very important in every conveyancing acquisition to prevent nasty surprises after moving into your new house. The search informs of you any charges or existing legal responsibilities that you will be adopting once you secure the purchase of a specific property, or parcel of land. A case in point may be a walkway, the maintenance of which falls under the duty of the land owners, not the local council. What's more, a search may also notify you of any planned developments that may have an effect on the property or land in the future, for instance new roads being planed adjacent to your property.

What is a local authority search?

A local authority search will provide details on, along with other things;

  • ·         All planning decisions relevant to the property.
  • ·         Adjacent road schemes to the property, whether major or minor.
  • ·         Contaminated land in or surrounding the property.
  • ·         Whether the property is located in a conservation area.
  • ·         Any enforcement action for contravention of planning permissions
  • ·         Whether the footpaths and roads leading to the property are publicly serviced.

Further to the above-mentioned inquiries, you may want details on something specific about the property. In this case, your conveyancing solicitor can make specific inquiries on your behalf as part of the standard search or as a separate written request. Often, the Local Authority charges an additional fee to respond to non-standard inquiries.

Types of local authority search

  • Official search

Trained and committed employees of your local council department carry out this type of local authority search. They are responsible for maintaining the local land register as well as performing property searches, and are therefore the local authoritative source. The official search certificate bears the logo of the local council department, and is signed by a certified representative of the council. The charges related to the official search are payable to the local council. Official searches are often accurate given that the local authority council is held responsible for any incurred losses due to a search being done incorrectly.

  • Personal search

A private company on your behalf carries out this type of local authority search. The private company carries out a thorough inspection of the local land register, and other publicly available registers to find all relevant information about your property. The charges to the personal search are payable to the private company. Personal searches came into prominence because official searches were taking long to return a concluded search, and these holdups were resulting in aborted transactions. In contrast, personal searches are quicker and more cost efficient.

For more information about conveyancing, check out companies such as Ray Swift Moutrage & Associates