What is a Local Authority Search?

18/03/2020
13,782
5 min read
The local authority search is the most important of the main property searches that mortgage lenders expect those buying a home with a mortgage to buy to examine potential threats that might affect the property.

This search examines matters such as local land charges (including, for example, tree preservation orders) and details on planning applications relevant to the property, restrictions on permitted development, road schemes and contaminated land. All information is derived from the local authority.

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Call to book your searches & ask us any questions, on 0333 344 3234


There are two types of local authority search:

  • Regulated Personal Local Authority Search
  • Official Local Authority Search

All information that you need for peace of mind is contained in the personal search, the only difference is that the personal search is written by search companies with information obtained from the relevant local authority. 

The official search differs in that it is compiled directly by the local authority. It can also be more expensive.

Some mortgage lenders stipulate that you are only able to satisfy their conditions if you buy an official search - see the following list. 

It must be noted also that this search, whether premium or official, takes the longest to send back making it worthwhile to book as early as possible in the process.

Click on regulated personal or official local search? to find out more about the differences between these two conveyancing searches.

  • Banks and Clients Plc
  • Buckinghamshire Building Society
  • DB UK Bank Ltd
  • Fleet Mortgages
  • GE Money Home Lending Ltd (has withdrawn from the UK mortgage market)
  • Leek United Building Society
  • Loughborough Building Society
  • Mortgage Agency Services
  • Nedbank Private Wealth Ltd
  • New Street Mortgages
  • Paragon Mortgages Ltd
  • Paratus AMC Ltd
  • Parity Trust
  • Penrith Building Society
  • Pepper Homeloans
  • Platform (a trading name of The Co-Operative Bank Plc)
  • Stafford Railway Building Society
  • State Bank of India UK



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What’s in a Local Authority Search?

The main sections are:

  • A list of relevant entries in the Local Charges Register (includes e.g. tree preservation and smoke control orders)
  • Information on planning applications relevant to the property (granted or refused)
  • Building control history
  • Any enforcement action
  • Restrictions on permitted development
  • Nearby road schemes
  • Contaminated land
  • Radon gas information

You can ask additional questions relating to public rights of way, areas of outstanding beauty, pipeline and pollution notices, or town/village greens. This is called a Con29 Optional form or a "Con29o".

Local authority search

How is this detailed information presented?
The initial section is headed ‘information for conveyancers’ – this makes it easy for your conveyancing solicitor to absorb the most important facts revealed. 

Then the information is examined in more depth and then there is a shorter summary section for you to read. Your conveyancing solicitor is able to examine the considerable detail further if it requires investigation.

What are the turn around times for a local search

This search takes the longest to return This makes it very important to book early if you wish to give yourself the best chance of speeding up your conveyancing process.

Councils have different turnaround times, ranging from 3 days to 25 days.


Why is it so important?
Not only does the report examine issues such as preservation and control orders, which if there are any, might seriously impact on your enjoyment of your property, but it also flags up other potential areas of concern which your conveyancing solicitor might advise you to investigate further. For example, subsidence, energy and infrastructure and radon issues may be indicated.

What if the information is incorrect?
If any of the information is found to be incorrect and this subsequently causes you loss or harm, all search companies and the local authorities have indemnity insurance for millions of pounds in case this happens.

Book your searches – call 0333 344 3234


Frequently Asked Questions
The CON29 is an enquiry form designed to provide potential home buyers with information that relates to their new property and in some cases the area where the property is situated. It provides information on items in existence as well as items that are in the pipe line/being considered and/or awaiting approval. It is often these items that without the CON29 enquiry form would go unnoticed and have a material effect on the future use, development and enjoyment as well as laying a financial burden on the property. The majority of this information comes from within the local authority or from the County Council (where applicable).

A CON29 enquiry form can be completed by either the local authority or another body. However the Local Authority completed CON29 is backed by insurance and is commonly referred to as an ‘official CON29’. The CON29 covers a set of standard enquiries of local authorities such as:

  • Major road proposals
  • Traffic schemes
  • Road adoption status such as right of way
A personal search (also known as a regulated Local Authority Search) is carried out by the employee of a search provider, who visits the council office and inspects and records the information kept by the LA rather than being supplied directly from the Local Authority themselves. It includes accurate and up-to-date information on issues affecting your property including planning proposals, traffic schemes, conservation areas and any compulsory purchase orders in the area. The personal search has two forms, the Con29 Part 1 enquiries form and the Local Land Chargers form.

Why not compare the two types of local authority property search here - Personal Search Vs con29 Search.
Unfortunately, not all Local Authorities accept expedition of searches. However, there are still many local authorities that do offer a fast track local authority option for an extra fee. Search turn around can be anything from 48 hours to six weeks, so If you are able to fast track, this might mean that the search would come back in 2 weeks instead of maybe 3 to 6. We recommend you speak to your solicitor or search provider when ordering your searches to see what your options are.

Find out the individual Timescales.
These can take anywhere from one to six weeks to complete.

 
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FREE Online Conveyancing Process for Buyers

Includes online checklists, videos, downloads and tips - plus it is completely free to use from start to finish and saves your progress along the way.