There are certain rights and obligations of clients that are important to know when hiring a conveyancing solicitor for the purchase or sale of a property. When acting on behalf of the client, facts known or obtained by the solicitor are ascribed to the client. It does not matter whether the client has knowledge of those facts or not. Under this law, the client can be held liable for any misrepresentation, despite having no knowledge of the matter. It hence makes sense for the client to seek indemnity from the solicitor.
The solicitor carrying out the conveyancing will conduct several searches for the client. Inquiries made by the searcher can be shared with third parties. This means that any pre-contract inquiries about the property made by a seller during the purchase process can be shared with a prospective buyer. However, if the buyer feels that more information is required or the search result is not up to satisfaction, the buyer can commission another search. Lenders also depend on the results of the searches made by the prospective buyer of the property.
Is Commissioning a Search Important?
A conveyancing solicitor will carry out several searches for the client. The results of the search provide important information about the property. These results need to be investigated carefully and the searcher must inform the client of all the implications of the search results. As a norm, the conveyancing solicitors in Suffolk approve a contract only after completing and checking all the search results. In case the conveyancing solicitor is also acting on behalf of the lender, the results of the search will be shared with the lender as well. One such search is a Local Authority search.
What is a Local Authority search?
Providing information about the property along with the responsibility for footpaths or highways close by, a Local Authority search also gives information about any new developments planned in the area. The cost of the search is borne by the purchaser of the property and varies depending on the Local Authority. Generally, results for the search are received within the week, however, depending on the Local Authority, it could take longer.
How Essential is a Local Authority Search?
While not mandatory, a Local Authority search is essential before purchasing a property. Imagine finding the perfect house and then after having moved in, coming to know that a stadium is going to be built across the road. To avoid any such unpleasant surprises, it is essential to conduct a Local Authority search. The results of the search may result in looking for another property or seeking a reduction in the price of the searched one. However, remember that any mortgage taken on the property will require a Local Authority search by the building society or bank. Along with a Local Authority search that will be conducted at the beginning of the conveyancing process, the solicitor will also carry out searches relating to environmental clearances; water and drainage; or repair liability.
What can be expected from the Local Authority Search?
A Local Authority search will show the following aspects of the property and area.
- It will reflect the maintenance of the roads or footpaths along or next to the property. If these are maintained publicly, it is not an issue. However, if they have to be maintained privately, this will result in additional expenses for the purchaser.
- It will reflect if any violation of planning permission or enforcement notices has been issued against the property.
- It will indicate if the property is in a notified or conservation area.
- The results will show if there are any planned development projects in the area, for example, a road scheme close to the property or a sports ground across the road.
- It will provide details of any planning decisions that could be affecting the property and if planning permission was obtained for the construction of all parts of the property.
However, remember that a Local Authority search will not include any planning application submitted after the date of the search. Another point to remember is that a Local Authority search is through an application at the Local Authority and not a physical search at the property itself.
The Bottom Line
While it is important to obtain the search reports before finalizing a property deal, it is even more important to carry out a final physical inspection of the property and make sure that it is acceptable. Purchasing a property is a big financial investment and should only be done after making an informed decision.
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