Local Authority Search Timescale – What are the Delays?

30/03/2020
Local authority search timescales can vary greatly and this can have a significant impact on the speed of your conveyancing when you're buying a home. The Coronavirus - Covid 19 - outbreak has resulted in the normally expected local authority search timescales being either greatly lengthened or in the case of a number of local authorities - see below - the return of searches being entirely suspended while the outbreak continues. This is entirely understandable as critical staff have been variously forced to work from home or furloughed or laid off.

As a mortgage buyer you're always expected to buy conveyancing searches and the local authority search is the most important single conveyancing search however it frequently takes longest to be returned. Ultimately the choice is yours whether to order your searches as soon as you instruct or to wait at least until you and your solicitor receive your contract pack from your seller - the latter choice means you're less likely to risk losing your money because your conveyancing is more likely to go ahead.


You're always advised to buy searches even as a cash buyer. This is because ultimately, when you come to sell, any mortgage buyer will have to get searches and at this point you don't want to get a nasty surprise and find out that an issue that your searches has uncovered makes your property unsellable.

Need No Search Indemnity Insurance?

Although you are normally not advised to use local search indemnity insurance/no search indemnity insurance when you're buying a property, there are some situations where it is better to obtain some cover rather than no cover at all.

Fast Quotes | Peace of Mind | Flexible Cover

Update 6 April: The following local authorities have stated that they are closed until further notice (therefore unable to provide critical Local Authority Search data):

  • Barking and Dagenham London Borough Council
  • Torridge District Council
  • Ceredigion County Council
  • Pendle Borough Council
  • Greenwich London Borough Council
  • Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council
  • Newcastle upon Tyne City Council
  • Corby Borough Council
  • West Lancashire Borough Council
    Picture of a Local Authority Search representation showing the key importance of this conveyancing search
  • Darlington Borough Council
  • Waverley Borough Council
  • Burnley Borough Council
  • Hyndburn Borough Council
  • Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
  • Dover District Council
  • High Peak Borough Council
  • Chesterfield Borough Council
  • Breckland District Council
  • Gateshead Borough Council
  • Thanet District Council
  • St Helens Borough Council

The situation is changing rapidly, however we also have the following information direct from a number of other local authorities at this time:

  • Local Authority: Amber Valley - Amber Valley. Due to critical staffing levels, we are experiencing delays with this Local Authority. We will continue to monitor published delivery dates based on the supplier's performance. (Last updated on 13/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Bedford Borough Council - We are expecting some minor delays whilst we transition to our business continuity arrangements. More information to follow. (Last updated on 19/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Bolsover District Council - Bolsover District Council. COVID-19 Service Closure - we are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The client will be kept informed and the latest information is on our blog. (Last updated 25/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Bridgend Council - We are continuing to operate a normal level of service. Any changes will be notified promptly. (Last updated on 19/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Camden - Camden London Borough Council. We continue to see a positive improvement in Camden’s ability to return searches following their recruitment and training program. We have reduced their anticipated time to 30 working days. We remain committed to working with the Camden management team to facilitate a consistent service. (Last updated on 01/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Canterbury City Council - Canterbury City Council. We are expecting some minor delays whilst we transition to our business continuity arrangements. More information to follow. (Last updated on 19/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Carlisle City County Council - Carlisle City County Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. We have increased our turnaround times to be able to provide continuous service. (Last updated on 23/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Castle Point Borough Council - Castle Point Borough Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. (Last updated on 24/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Ceredigion County Council - Ceredigion City Council. COVID-19 Service Closure - we are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The client will be kept informed and the latest information is on our blog. (Last updated on 24/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Cheshire East Council - Cheshire East Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. We have increased our turnaround times to be able to provide continuous service. (Last updated on 24/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Cheshire West & Chester Council - Cheshire West & Chester Council. We are continuing to operate a normal level of service. Any changes will be notified promptly. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Chesterfield Borough Council - Chesterfield Borough Council. COVID-19 Service Closure - we are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The client will be kept informed and the latest information is on our blog. (Last updated 25/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: City of Wolverhampton Council - City of Wolverhampton Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. We have increased our turnaround times to be able to provide continuous service. (Last updated on 19/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Corby City Council - Corby City Council. COVID-19 Service Closure - we are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The client will be kept informed and the latest information is on our blog. (Last updated on 24/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Cornwall County Council - Cornwall County Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. We may increase our turnaround times to be able to provide continuous service. (Last updated on 25/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Darlington Borough Council - Darlington Borough Council. COVID-19 Service Closure - we are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The client will be kept informed and the latest information is on our blog. (Last updated on 24/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Dover District Council - Dover District Council. COVID-19 Service Closure - we are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The client will be kept informed and the latest information is on our blog. (Last updated on 25/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: East Riding of Yorkshire Council - East Riding of Yorkshire Council. COVID 19: Service Closure. We are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. Clients with orders will be kept informed & the latest information will appear here on the blog. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: East Suffolk Council - East Suffolk Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Enfield London Borough Council - Enfield London Borough Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. The expedite service can no longer be offered. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Fenland District Council - Fenland District Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. (Last updated on 24/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Flintshire County Council - Flintshire County Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. We have increased our turnaround times to be able to provide continuous service. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Folkestone & Hythe District Council - Folkestone & Hythe District Council. Local Authority service was suspended on 26 March until further notice. We will provide an update as soon as the Local Authority provides further information. Orders placed up to 25 March should be returned. Highways data may not be included in the search. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Halton Borough Council - Halton Borough Council. We are expecting some minor delays whilst we transition to our Business Continuity arrangements. More information to follow. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council - Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council. We are continuing to operate a normal level of service. We may increase our turnaround times to be able to provide continuous service. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Hastings Borough Council - Hastings Borough Council. We are continuing to operate a normal level of service for orders submitted electronically. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Hertsmere - Hertsmere Borough Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: High Peak Borough Council - High Peak Borough Council. COVID-19 Service Closure - we are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The client will be kept informed and the latest information is on our blog. (Last updated on 25/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Hyndburn Borough Council - Hyndburn Borough Council. COVID 19: Service Closure. We are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The Clients with orders will be kept informed & the latest information will appear here on the blog. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Kingston Upon Thames Royal London Borough Council - Kingston Upon Thames Royal London Borough Council. COVID-19 Service Closure - we are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The client will be kept informed and the latest information is on our blog. (Last updated on 26/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Leicester City Council - Leicester City Council. COVID-19 Service Closure - we are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The client will be kept informed and the latest information is on our blog. (Last updated on 24/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: London Borough of Havering - London Borough of Havering. Reduced staffing levels due to the coronavirus have increased the turnaround time to an expected 8 working days. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Mansfield District Council - Mansfield District Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. We have increased turnaround times as a precaution. (Last updated on 25/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Medway Council - London Borough of Havering. Reduced staffing levels due to the coronavirus have increased the turnaround time to an expected 8 working days. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council - Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. We may increase our turnaround times to be able to provide continuous service. (Last updated on 25/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Newark & Sherwood District Council - Newark & Sherwood District Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. (Last updated on 24/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Newcastle City County Council - Newcastle City County Council. Service has been suspended from 24th March until 14th April 2020. (Last updated on 24/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: New Forest District Council - New Forest District Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. We have increased our turnaround times to be able to provide continuous service. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: North East Derbyshire - North East Derbyshire. COVID-19 Service Closure - we are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The client will be kept informed and the latest information is on our blog. (Last updated on 26/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: North East Lincolnshire - North East Lincolnshire. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: North Lincolnshire Council - North Lincolnshire Council. We are expecting some minor delays whilst we transition to our business continuity arrangements. More information to follow. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: North Somerset. We are continuing to operate a normal level of service. Any changes will be notified promptly. (Last updated on 18/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Oldham Borough County Council - Oldham Borough County Council. We are continuing to operate a normal level of service. (Last updated on 26/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Pembrokeshire Country Council - Pembrokeshire County Council. We are continuing to operate a normal level of service. (Last updated on 26/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Pendle Borough Council - Pendle Borough Council. COVID 19: Service Closure. We are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. Clients with orders will be kept informed & the latest information will appear here on the blog. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Peterborough City Council - Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Land Charges department has moved to home working resulting in some staff not having full system access. This is likely to impact the return of search results. We are in communication with Peterborough to obtain a fuller picture of the service they are able to support at this time. Turnaround time has been increased to 10 working days at the request of the Local Authority. (Last updated on 19/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Poole Borough Council - Poole Borough Council. Searches are being processed by the Local Authority however due to homeworking the QA process cannot be completed. Searches will therefore not be returned at this time. We will provide an update as soon as the Local Authority provides further information. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Portsmouth City Council - Portsmouth City Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. (Last updated on 24/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Redcar & Cleveland - Redcar & Cleveland. COVID 19: Service Closure. We are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. Clients with orders will be kept informed & latest information will appear here on the blog. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Richmond London Borough Council - Richmond London Borough Council. We are continuing to operate a normal level of service. Any changes will be notified promptly. Slight Delays. Turnaround time is being adjusted to allow for the current level of service. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Rossendale Borough Council - Rossendale Borough Council. Searches cannot be fully completed as all required records cannot be accessed. Searches will therefore not be returned at this time. Plesae expect significant delays. We will provide an update as soon as the Local Authority provides further information. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Rushcliffe Borough Council - Rushcliffe Borough Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Sheffield City Council - Sheffield City Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. We may increase our turnaround times to be able to provide continuous service. (Last updated on 26/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: South Hams District Council - South Hams District Council. We are continuing to operate a normal level of service. Turnaround time has been increased by 4 to support business continuity arrangements. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: South Northamptonshire - South Northamptonshire Councils. We are continuing to operate a near-normal level of service. Any changes will be notified promptly. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Staffordshire Councils - Due to unavoidable resource levels, Staffordshire County Council have taken the decision to stop accepting and processing any new applications for Highway Extent searches. This was imposed on 14th February and will be in place for the next 6 to 8 weeks (1 April). We have updated our turnaround times on our Planval searches to reflect this service stoppage. If you already have an order placed with a Staffordshire Council region before 14th February, your order is being processed and we are experiencing a steady return of those orders. We are working proactively with our supplier network to minimise the disruption the inevitable backlog is going to cause whilst seeking possible alternative solutions. (Last updated on 14/02/2020)

  • Local Authority: Thanet District Council - Thanet District Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. Any changes will be notified promptly. Thanet District Council - Personal Searches. Personal Searches will be supported remotely. There may be delays as there is a cap on the number of orders that will be processed daily. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Three Rivers District Council - Three Rivers District Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. We have increased our turnaround times to be able to provide continuous service. Searches for large or complex commercial sites may experience additional delays. (Last updated on 20/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Thurrock Council - Thurrock Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. We may increase our turnaround times to be able provide a continuous service. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Torfaen Council - Torfaen Local Authority Searches. We are continuing to operate a normal level of service for orders submitted electronically. We operate a full-service Tuesday to Thursday only. (Last updated on 19/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Wandsworth London Borough Council - Wandsworth London Borough Council. We are continuing to operate a normal level of service. Any changes will be notified promptly. Slight Delays. Turnaround time is being adjusted to allow for the current level of service. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Waverley Borough Council - Waverley Borough Council. COVID-19 Service Closure - we are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The client will be kept informed and the latest information is on our blog. (Last updated on 25/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Wealden District Council - We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. Delays are expected access to records is restricted. We may increase our turnaround times to be able provide a continuous service. (Last updated on 27/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: West Devon Council - West Devon Local Authority Searches. Turnaround time revised to 10 working days to allow additional time to process search orders. (Last updated on 19/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: West Lancashire Council - West Lancashire Council. COVID-19 Service Closure - we are working with the supplier to understand and monitor the situation. The client will be kept informed and the latest information is on our blog. (Last updated on 24/03/2020)

  • Local Authority: Wiltshire Council - Wiltshire Council. We continue to provide searches after having invoked our working from home policy. We may increase our turnaround times to be able to provide continuous service. (Last updated on 23/03/2020)


 
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What is a Local Authority Search?

What is a Local Authority Search?

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Local Authority Search Indemnity Insurance

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