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FAQ

Let us help you with answering some key questions
What is a Local Authority Search?

There are a large number of companies which offer a Local Authority Search service, as well as your own District or Borough Council. These are known collectively as personal search companies (PSCs) and they produce personal searches (see below). However, all Local Authority Search products have one thing in common – they must obtain their information from the local authoritative source (your local council).

 

A search is comprised of up to four parts. A minimum requirement is the form LLC1, which will provide a list of all of the relevant entries in the Local Land Charges Register, and the Con29 Required, usually referred to as the Con29R. This will provide information on, amongst other things, details on planning applications relevant to the property (whether granted or refused), building control history, any enforcement action, restrictions on permitted development, nearby road schemes, contaminated land and radon gas; in all a total of 13 subject areas. These two elements together are often referred to as a ‘basic’ or ‘standard’ search.

 

You can also ask additional optional questions relating to public rights of way, areas of outstanding natural beauty, pipeline, pollution notices, or town and village greens. These questions (18 in all) are contained on the Con29 Optional form, usually referred to as the Con29O.

 

Further to these questions, you can also ask anything which you think may be useful to know about, such as whether there are any planning permissions on adjacent land. These questions, in common with the optional enquiries mentioned above, will be at additional cost.

 

There are two different types of product available to you:

•  The official Local Authority Search, or
•  The Regulated search.

Official Local Search

The official search is conducted by trained and dedicated staff employed by your local council in their Local Land Charges unit. This, usually small, team are responsible for maintaining the Local Land Charges Register and conducting property searches, as required. As part of this process, they will ensure that the information revealed in your search report is relevant and accurate. The vast majority of local authorities now complete this process within just a few days.

 

There are many advantages to using the official search product, not least of which is that, should you have any follow-up enquiries, you can go straight to the authoritative source for clarification. The official search will bear the logo of the council which provides it and the search certificate will be signed by an officer of the council. Only Local Authorities are permitted to produce and sign a Certificate of Search. In the (thankfully very rare) event that you should experience any problems resulting from errors or omissions in your report, all Local Authorities carry full indemnity insurance, which is open-ended.

Regulated Local Search

Our search agents have access to all of the same information and records as the Local Authority. The records are always inspected by a fully trained search expert. As Local Authorities may, on occasion, use automated systems, it is possible that entries and information may be picked up that no longer apply, or are not relevant to your particular property. By inspecting the data personally, we are able to discern exactly what information applies to a particular property, making our results more accurate. If required, we will also look at other information and cover questions that may be of particular concern to a purchaser but would not usually be covered by a standard search. In almost all cases, we are also a cheaper and quicker option than the Local Authority. As Searches Direct subscribe to the Search Code and are members of COPSO, our searches are widely accepted by the vast majority of mortgage providers.

 

OPTIONAL ENQUIRIES

The CON29 Optional Enquiries are as follows:

 

• Optional Enquiries Q4 (Road Proposals by Private Bodies)
• Optional Enquiries Q5 (Advertisements)
• Optional Enquiries Q6 (Completion Notices)
• Optional Enquiries Q7 (Parks and Countryside)
• Optional Enquiries Q8 (Pipelines)
• Optional Enquiries Q9 (Houses in Multiple Occupation)
• Optional Enquiries Q10 (Noise Abatement)
• Optional Enquiries Q11 (Urban Development Areas)
• Optional Enquiries Q12 (Enterprise Zones, Local Development Orders & BIDS)
• Optional Enquiries Q13 (Inner Urban Improvement Areas)
• Optional Enquiries Q14 (Simplified Planning Zones)
• Optional Enquiries Q15 (Land Maintenance Notices)
• Optional Enquiries Q16 (Mineral Consultation and Safeguarding Areas)
• Optional Enquiries Q17 (Hazardous Substance Consents)
• Optional Enquiries Q18 (Environmental and Pollution Notices)
• Optional Enquiries Q19 (Food Safety Notices)
• Optional Enquiries Q20 (Hedgerow Notices)
• Optional Enquiries Q21 (Flood Defence and Land Drainage Consents)
• Optional Enquiries Q22 (Common Land and Town or Village Green)

Why use Searches Direct instead of ordering directly from the Local Authority?

Our search agents have access to all of the same information and records as the Local Authority. The records are always inspected by a fully trained search expert.

 

As Local Authorities may, on occasion, use automated systems, it is possible that entries and information may be picked up that no longer apply, or are not relevant to your particular property. By inspecting the data personally, we are able to discern exactly what information applies to a particular property, making our results more accurate.

 

If required, we will also look at other information and cover questions that may be of particular concern to a purchaser but would not usually be covered by a standard search.

 

In almost all cases, we are also a cheaper and quicker option than the Local Authority.

 

As Searches Direct subscribe to the Search Code and are members of COPSO, our searches are widely accepted by the vast majority of mortgage providers.

What additional searches can Searches Direct provide?

Searches Direct are authorised re-sellers of products from Landmark, Groundsure, The Coal Authority, CLS and all national Water Companies.

 

For more information regarding the variety of products we provide, please click here

Can Searches Direct provide searches in my area?

We have agents based throughout England and Wales and are able to carry out personal searches at all councils in either country.

How do I request a search?

All of our searches and information are available to order online through our easy to use system. To create an account simply fill in the Contact us  or call us on 01254 676316.

What is the Important Consumer Protection Information?

Important Consumer Protection Information

This search has been produced by Searches Direct (Nationwide) Ltd also trading as Searches Direct (NW) Ltd, Suite 507 Daisyfield Business Centre, Appleby Street, Blackburn, BB1 3BL. Tel: 01254 676316 Email: info@searchesdirect.co.uk which is registered with the Property Codes Compliance Board (PCCB) as a subscriber to the Search Code. The PCCB independently monitors how registered search firms maintain compliance with the Code.

 

The Search Code:

• Provides protection for homebuyers, sellers, estate agents, conveyancers and mortgage lenders who rely on the information included in property search reports undertaken by subscribers on residential and commercial property within the United Kingdom

• Sets out minimum standards which firms compiling and selling search reports have to meet

• Promotes the best practice and quality standards within the industry for the benefit of consumers and property professionals

• Enables consumers and property professionals to have confidence in firms which subscribe to the code, their products and services.

 

By giving you this information, the search firm is confirming that they keep to the principles of the Code. This provides important protection for you.

 

The Code’s core principles

 

Firms which subscribe to the Search Code will:

• Display the Search Code logo prominently on their search reports

• Act with integrity and carry out work with due skill, care and diligence

• At all times maintain adequate and appropriate insurance to protect consumers conduct business in an honest, fair and professional manner

• Handle complaints speedily and fairly

• Ensure that products and services comply with industry registration rules and standards and relevant laws monitor their compliance with the Code Complaint

What is your complaints procedure?

Searches Direct is registered with the Property Codes Compliance Board as a subscriber to the Search Code. A key commitment under the Code is that firms will handle any complaints both speedily and fairly.

 

If you want to make a complaint, we will:

•  Acknowledge it within 5 working days of receipt.
•  Normally deal with it fully and provide a final response, in writing, within 20 working days of receipt.
•  Keep you informed by letter, telephone or e-mail, as you prefer, if we need more time.
•  Provide a final response, in writing, at the latest within 40 working days of receipt.
•  Liaise, at your request, with anyone acting formally on your behalf.

 

If you are not satisfied with our final response, or if we exceed the response timescales, you may refer the complaint to The Property Ombudsman scheme (TPOs): Tel: 01722 333306, Web site www.tpos.co.uk , E-mail: admin@tpos.co.uk.

 

We will co-operate fully with the Ombudsman during an investigation and comply with his final decision.

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