Searches – What do they reveal?

SEARCHES – What do they Reveal?

Local Authority Search

A local authority search reveals matters that affect the property being searched against but will not disclose matters that affect neighbouring properties. It deals with Planning Permissions and Building Regulations Consents as well as Proposals for Road Schemes and Notices affecting the property.

It should also indicate if the adjoining road is a highway maintainable at public expense. However, please let us know if you are aware of anything that may indicate that the Property does not abut the highway. You might need to do this if there is a strip of concrete or a grass verge between the Property and the road surface.

Please also let us know if you plan to move the access to the Property from its current position.

Drainage and Water Search

A Water and Drainage Search is mainly used to show whether a property is connected to the mains water supply and mains drainage. However, it will also reveal important information about who is responsible for maintaining the drains and billing usage.

The replies will usually show the location of public sewers within the boundary of a property and other such matters that may restrict development.

Environmental Search

An Environmental Search is used to provide an overview of a wide range of environmental issues, rather than delve deeply into one particular issue. However, it does not include a site visit or testing of soil or groundwater samples.

It provides information about whether the property is at risk of Contaminated Land, Flooding, Radon and Ground Instability. Also covered are Energy and Infrastructure (such as proximity to HS2) and any Other Influential Factors (such as Conservation Zones).

Where this search flags up an issue as “Identified” it may be necessary to take specific steps to obtain further information. Such steps include Flood Reports, Energy & Infrastructure Reports and Radon Tests.

Coal Mining Search

A coal mining search is only necessary in certain parts of the country and it provides information about any past, present and future coal mining activity at a property. It also indicates whether there are mine shafts on the property.

The search also provides information regarding subsidence caused by coal mining activities as well as any recent claims which have been brought against the Coal Mining Authority.

Land Registry Official Search

A Land Registry official search shows whether the register for a property has changed since the copy of the register was originally issued to the buyer’s solicitor. It is conducted prior to completion and it gives the applicant a “priority period”. Any new entries that are registered in the priority period will not bind the applicant, as long as the Land Registry receives their application for registration within the priority period.

Local Land Charges Search

A search of the Local Land Charges Register shows matters such as compulsory purchase orders, tree preservation orders, planning enforcement notices and financial charges registered against a property.

Unlike with the Land Registry Official Search, the Local Land Charges Search only a snapshot of the register on the date of the search. This means that Local land charges registered after the date of the search will still bind a property.

Chancel Repair Search

A Chancel Repair Search shows whether the owner of a property may be liable to contribute towards the cost of repairs to the chancel of a parish church.

We would advise you not to contact any parish churches directly in relation to chancel repair liability for your property. This is because it gives notice to the parish church and this will can affect the availability of Indemnity Insurance Policies.

In relation to a lease, we will initially try and pass this liability back to the Landlord.

Insurance is available for this liability and often cheaper than undertaking the search. However, this insurance does not cover properties that are more than five acres or ones where there is a change of use. It also will not provide cover where you know, or the title reveals, there is a liability for chancel repair. The policy provides financial compensation only and is voided if it is revealed to third parties without the insurers permission.

Company Search

A company search against a Landlord company is used to verify that the company exists and that there is nothing registered against the company that would affect the property being leased.

Commons Registration Search

A commons registration search identifies whether any part of a property is registered as common land or as a town/village green. The possibility of land being common land, or a town/village green is significant. This is because the land may be subject to third party rights, which could restrict the owner’s ability to use or develop the land.

Even if land is not registered as a town or village green at the date of the search, it is possible for new town or village greens to be registered in some circumstances. You should let us know if you are aware of anyone other than the landlord or its tenants using the Property for any purpose.


On 10th January 2012, the Department for Transport announced its decision to go ahead with a proposed high speed rail link between London and Birmingham called HS2.

Properties along the route may be disadvantaged (possibly for several years) by HS2 construction works and the resultant noise pollution. In more serious cases properties may be subject to compulsory purchase orders or be permanently blighted by their proximity to HS2. Consequently, properties may lose value or become more difficult to sell or mortgage.

If you are concerned about how HS2 will affect your enjoyment of the property and/or your decision to purchase, please let us know. More information about the routes as well as the project in general, can be found on the Department for Transport’s website.