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Guide to Commercial Property Local Authority Searches

When leasing or purchasing a commercial property, carrying out local searches as part of the conveyancing process is one of the most important aspects of ensuring there are no potential issues that may impact how you utilise the property, and furthermore, those that could result in unwanted surprises in the future.

Typically, appointed solicitors or conveyancers apply for a local authority search on behalf of you as a commercial property tenant or buyer.

Local authority official searches vs Regulated personal searches

Opposed to a local authority search, also referred to as an official search, which is carried out by the local authority, a personal/regulated search is typically carried out by private search companies.

Regulated searches became popular decades ago when the official search used to have extremely long turnaround times, which could have caused issues when completing transactions. Personal searches also provided a number of benefits over official searches, such as fixed price and standardised format all across the country and standardised format.

However, although most lenders accept regulated personal searches, some have been reported to only accept local searches carried out by the local authority.

What is included in a local authority search?

A local authority search consists of two parts: LLC1 and Con29 and it will show important information about a property.

LLC1

The LLC1 form includes all the information listed in the local land charges register:

  • Listed buildings
  • Conservation areas
  • Tree protection orders
  • Improvement or renovation grants
  • Smoking control zones
  • Future developments

CON29

The CON29 includes a series of comprehensive and specific information held by each local authority, such as major nearby road schemes, highway maintenance, common land, public paths or byways, pipelines, land maintenance notices, nearby railway schemes, consents and noise abatement etc.

Other searches

There are some searches that are not covered by local authority searches that may be important including:

  • Chancel repair liability search
  • Radon search
  • Commercial drainage and water search
  • Mining search
  • Commercial ground stability search
  • Flood searches

How long do local authority searches take?

Timescales of a local authority search vary across the UK and between each local authority, as they are managed differently and due to the department size difference. Some can be completed within a day or a few days, while others can take several weeks.

For instance, it has been reported the average local authority search turnaround time for Wychavon District Council is one day, while North Leicestershire District Council has 4 days average completion time, and for Derby City Council, the figure goes up to 26 days.

You can find your local council here to make an enquiry.

Local authority search fee

Each local authority sets its own local search fee, therefore, it is important to check with your local council. How much it costs can also vary for some local councils depending on a number of factors including the application method (online or postal application) and whether the admin fee is included or not.

The table below shows commercial property local search fees for selected UK local authorities for 2017/2018. Get in touch with your local authority for the latest fee local authority search information.

Southampton City Council£87.00Cannock Chase Council£128.90Forest of Dean District Council£166.60Nottingham City Council£127.00Stoke-on-Trent City Council£95.32Colchester Borough Council£146.40Tower Hamlets Council£249.80

Local authority Standard search fee
Westminster City Council £185.00
London Borough of Bromley Council £142.00
Manchester City Council £74.50
Birmingham City Council £89.60
Coventry City Council £128.00
Derby City Council £111.10
Herefordshire Council £165.00
Newcastle Under Lyme Borough Council £124.20
Powys County Council £176.40
Shropshire Council £86.00
City of Wolverhampton Council £63.00
Liverpool City Council £87.00
Cheshire East Council £85.00
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham £112.10

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