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What property searches will be needed for my house purchase?

Searches allow you to find out more about the property you are buying. If you are buying with the help of a mortgage your bank / building society will insist on searches being carried out.

There are three main types of searches –

1) Local Authority Searches

This is where your legal adviser checks certain issues with the Council. These could include whether a road leading to the property is maintained at the council’s expense; whether the trees are protected or whether the extension that was carried out on the house had the necessary planning permission.

Local Authority searches will also reveal whether there are any monies owed to the Council.

2) Drainage and water searches

The main purpose of this search is to establish whether the property is connected to mains water and mains fouls and surface water drainage.

This search will also look to see if there are any public sewers within the boundary of the property. It is not unusual for public sewer pipes running across people’s gardens so it is important to check whether previous owners have carried out any building works such as extensions over these pipes without the permission of the water authority. If they have and the water authority needs to access that pipe for any reason it could be very unpleasant and expensive for the home owner.

3) Environmental searches

Environmental searches are designed to stablish whether the land the property has been built on is contaminated, such as being built on a former landfill site, or at risk from flooding or be affected by radon gas (a naturally occurring radioactive gas).


In addition to these three main types of search, depending on the property and location, there may be other types of searches that are needed including:

Mining Search

This is required if the property is situated in an area of previous or current mining history.


Transport Searches

If your conveyancer believes the property may be affected by transport related issues such as new road proposals form the Highways Agency, new rail or underground plans and waterways rights if the property is close proximity to a river, stream or canal.


Chancel Repair

This search will reveal whether a property is liable to pay a contribution towards the repairs of the local parish church.


Land Charges

This search is required when dealing with unregistered land and it details any bankruptcy proceedings attributed to the owner of the land.