What are Conveyancing Searches?


Here’s a question: What are conveyancing searches? These types of searches are carried out by the conveyancer on behalf of the buyer. Searches are important as they provide crucial information about the property. The simple, yet compelling reason for searches is to find out as much about the property you are buying.
Once the contract has been signed you agree to take the property at whatever condition it is in at that point. The obligation is on the buyer to find out as much about the property; the seller has a limited duty of disclosure.

Information about the property will be provided by searches and pre-contract enquiries (which will be asked of the seller).

Enquires are submitted to various authorities, including the local authority, water authority and Environmental Agency to provide crucial information about the property you are purchasing, such as where drains and pipes are located, whether the property is built near a mine shaft.

Do I need conveyancing searches?

If you are purchasing a property as a cash buyer you don’t technically need searches, though as mentioned above it would be ill-advised not to try to find out as much as you can on such an important purchase.
If you are purchasing with a mortgage, conveyancing searches are obligatory.

Conveyancing searches include the following:-

  • Land Registry check. This ensures that the seller is the legal owner of the property. This is compulsory by law.
  • Water authority search. Provides information about pipes and drains around the property.
  • Local authority search. Checks for planned construction around the property.
  • Flood risk check. Determines whether the property is at risk from flooding.
  • Environmental search. Checks for contaminated land, landfills, former industrial sites and other potential hazards
  • Chancel repair search. If you are buying a property on land subject to chancel repair you will be legally obliged to contribute towards repairs to the chancel (the space in a church around the altar). This search will determine your liability and your conveyancer will advised on whether to take out chancel liability insurance.
  • Other searches. Depending on the location of the property, other searches may be carried out (e.g. coal mine searches) as well as additional local authority questions such as common land, public footpaths etc.