Conveyancing Searches

Described below are a number of search reports which are available for additional information about the property you are buying.  We have provided a brief overview of each report for your information, should you wish us to carry out any of these reports on your behalf please contact us as soon as possible prior to exchange of contracts to avoid any delays in your purchase.  We will be required to carry out some of these searches on behalf of your mortgage lender in any event.  If you are buying without a mortgage searches will be optional, but recommended.As part of our standard search pack we will request a local, drainage and environmental search on your behalf. These costs are already set out in your estimate of charges.

Local Authority Search

A Local Search will confirm conditional planning permissions and other planning applications affecting the property, road, railway and traffic schemes, tree preservation orders, Conservation Area and Listed Building consents, infringements and Orders, smoke control zones, building regulation applications and financial charges affecting the property.The cost of this report varies and is not fixed by the Local Authority and/or any personal search provider.We only search against the property you are purchasing. If you wish us to make separate enquiries in respect of adjoining land or property, please notify us.
Variable depending on Local Authority

Environmental Report

An Environmental Report is also required by any mortgage lender.  Home buyers are often unaware that although the house they purchase may be in good condition, the land upon which it is built may not. The local search will not reveal any landfill sites, waste
disposal facilities or whether the land is at risk from contamination, toxic emissions, flooding, subsidence or radioactivity. It has been found that there are over 250,000 sites which have been filled and that there are over 400,000 industrial sites, which are no longer in existence, which may have contaminated land. Many of these sites may have already been built on to provide housing. Landfill waste disposal and old industrial land are known as “brownfield” sites. The principle “buyer beware” applies and if you purchase land that is contaminated you may be liable to pay for the clean-up costs of the pollution created by former owners.

As a result of increased computerisation, it is now possible to obtain details of the present and historical land use for properties in England and Wales. The environmental report provides site-specific data on environmental issues affecting residential property. The
report contains information obtained from the Environment Agency, Coal Board, DETR, Ordinance Survey and other data providers. It will provide information on whether the property you are intending to buy has been built on former landfill sites, waste sites or industrial or unstable land. It will also provide a risk assessment as to nearby sites that may release contamination and whether the land is an area affected by Radon gas, flooding, landslip, coal mining or subsidence. The report covers an area within a 500 metre radius of the property.
Approximately £55

Coal & other Mining Reports

The report identifies known historical or current mining within the vicinity of the property as well as any licences which have been obtained to extract or commence coal mining.

Similar reports are also available for Limestone Mining which was mainly in the West Midlands and Tin Mining which was carried out in the South West of England. Although mining activities are likely to have ceased, there is still a potential for subsidence.

We shall be required to undertake these reports in any event it be required by any mortgage lender.
Approximately £50

Commons Registration Act Search

This search confirms if any land is registered under the Commons Registration Act 1965. If it is registered, it is difficult to remove that land from the register and not possible to obtain planning permission for development over the land. Third parties may have rights over the land (e.g. to graze cattle).
Approximately £20

Chancel Repair Liability Check

The Chancel Check Search reveals whether your property is located within a parish that could charge for repairs to the chancel.
If positive results are revealed, then it is possible to obtain indemnity insurance to insure against future claims made against you. We would provide you wish full details and a quotation as to costs, if this were the case.
Approximately £30

Energy & Infrastructure Risk Screening Report
(incorporating HS2)

This report combines oil and gas exploration, fracking, wind generation activity and High Speed 2.
The report encompasses drilling locations and land blocks which are licensed for oil and gas exploration, including shale gas, gas storage, methane gas, coal bed methane and conventional oil and gas. In addition, the report provides enhanced data sets for the proposed High Speed 3 (HS2) rail network, including not only its route, but also on vital station, tunnel and track depot information. It also covers wind farms and individual wind turbines that are operational, consented or under construction. This report is available for commercial and residential properties.
Approximately £30

Development Assessment

Development Assessment is a location audit that exposes significant development risk that is potentially damaging to a property. It will investigate a 75m radius surrounding residential and small commercial properties.  Development Assessment exposes risks to views, value and enjoyment of the property in addition to providing a professional opinion as to the development potential of the subject property.  It is suitable for residential or commercial property under 0.25 acres.

Development Assessment includes:

• Professional opinion about future development risks within a 75m radius of the property;
• Any relevant planning applications, development allocations, proposed traveller sites, etc. will be disclosed clearly to the end user;
• Where available plans and other supporting evidence of the proposals will be attached within the completed report;
• Identifies the development potential of the intended purchase;
• Site specific mapping showing the relationship between the property and any identified potential development sites;
• Information about the size and capacity of each identified site;
• A comprehensive list of current and historic planning applications (including larger applications and ‘minor applications’ such as single storey extensions and dormer windows within the immediate vicinity);
• Information on land use designations, rights of way, mobile phone masts, housing crime, amenities and education;
• Aerial photography of the immediate area

Please note that the planning report would not usually be required in addition to Development Assessment.
Approximately £100

Planning Report

This Report provides a full residential report on planning applications in your area.  The Local Search only provides information on the property you are purchasing and not the surrounding areas.  It gives the full picture of a neighbourhood, including information telecoms masts, local footpaths, neighbourhood data on topics such as schools, crime rates, insurance claims, population demographics, housing types and average prices. Additionally there is a summary of key local amenities.

Key features:

• Commercial and residential planning applications, including decisions on larger applications
• Comprehensive data on land use designations
• Variable urban and rural search radii for concise and intelligently sized reports
• Average property price data
• Detailed socio-demographic overview
• Theft insurance claims data
• Local educational performance
Approximately £30

Flood Report

The Environment Agency estimates that one in six homes in England (approximately 5.2m properties) are at risk from flooding. Of these, 1.4m are at risk from rivers or the sea alone, 2.8m are at risk from surface water alone and 1m are at risk from both. An estimated 200 homes are at risk of complete loss to coastal erosion over the next 20 years or so and 2,000 more could potentially become at risk over this period.

It may not always be obvious that a property is at risk of flooding. Properties at risk do not need to be close to a river or the sea or on low lying ground to be exposed to flood risk. Surface water, groundwater and overflowing sewers are increasingly common causes of flooding.

The most common types of flooding are:

• Surface water flooding - occurs when heavy rainfall overwhelms the drainage capacity of an area.
Sewer flooding - occurs when sewers are overwhelmed by heavy rainfall or when they become blocked.
Groundwater flooding - occurs when underground water levels rise above surface level. This is most likely to occur in low lying areas underlain by permeable rocks.
River flooding - occurs when a watercourse cannot cope with the water draining into it from the surrounding land.
Coastal flooding - results from a combination of high tides, low lying land and, sometimes, stormy conditions.

Should you have any concerns regarding the above and wish us to obtain a flood report on your property please let us know as soon as possible.

If the environmental search confirms that the property is at risk of flooding this more detailed search will be carried out automatically.
Approximately £30


We may occasionally enter into arrangements with search parties that they will pay us a commission of between £5 to £25 per search. This assists us to maintain competitive prices to our clients. Under our professional rules, we may only retain this amount with your consent. By signing our terms and conditions and continuing to instruct us, you agree that we may retain this commission. If you do not consent, we shall not accept the commission. This arrangement does not affect the position of our legal services to you.