When purchasing a property, searches are an important part of the transaction. Searches give the purchaser and lender, if appropriate, further information about that property and the surrounding area. There are three main searches that conveyancers tend to obtain on a purchase, these are: environmental search, water and drainage search and local search. Below, I briefly summarise these searches.
This search confirms whether there is an environmental risk identified with the property and as such whether it is classified as contaminated land. The search also provides details of the property’s proximity to flood plains, radon gas affected areas, subsidence, past and current industrial land uses, past and current discharges of water, and other important points.
Conveyancers are not qualified to interpret any results. In the event that the purchaser is concerned by any result within this search we would suggest that the purchaser contact their surveyor if they are concerned about any effect on the value of the property or cost of remedial works. Alternatively, you may wish to contact the Environmental health department at the Local Authority should you be concerned about the impact of any matter on the health of any occupier of the property.
Water and Drainage Search
Amongst other information, this search confirms whether there are any sewerage or drainage systems that are within the property’s boundaries or in the vicinity of the property. More importantly the search reveals if these systems are publicly maintained or not. On 1st October 2011 many private sewers and lateral drains became the responsibility of the Water Authorities. As such, the cost of repairing and maintaining the public sewers will be covered by sewerage charges levied by the water authority.
If the search highlights that there is a drainage or sewerage system within the boundaries of the property, conveyancers will need to raise an enquiry to ensure that it has not been built over. If it has been built over, it could cause complications should the water company wish to repair or maintain that section that is within the property’s boundary as the water company has the power to go through the floor of any structure that may have been built over the drainage or sewerage system. Any excavation or remedial work that is necessary for the repair or maintenance would have to be paid by the property owner.
The Local Authority search is completed by the local authority and as a result will generally take longer to be completed that the first two searches mentioned. This search will provide the following information: whether there have been planning permission application on the property, whether there are building regulations for the property, whether there is a Tree Preservation Order or a Smoke Control Order.
This search also highlights if the road on which the property you are purchasing is maintainable at public expense. If it is not maintainable at public expense, the owner will be responsible for the costs of repairing and maintaining the road, along with all other householders or frontages that have a similar right to use the road.
The search also notifies if there are any plans for nearby road schemes, railway schemes or traffic schemes.
Get in Touch
If you are of buying or selling your property please contact our conveyancing department on 0118 9589711 or email [email protected]. Alternatively, you can complete your own estimate using our online system.