Standard pre-contract searches
Standard pre-contract searches

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Standard pre-contract searches
  • National Land Information Service
  • Forms and plans
  • Which searches should be undertaken in every transaction?
  • Flood searches
  • Energy performance certificates

Pre-contract searches must be carried out to reveal as much information about the property as possible before purchase. They are usually carried out by the buyer’s solicitor but may be carried out by the seller’s solicitor if he is to give a certificate of title. Search results must always be reported to the buyer and their significance explained.

National Land Information Service

National Land Information Service (NLIS) provides a single point of electronic access to all official sources of land and property information in England and Wales via partners (TM Property Searches and Searchflow) and has greatly improved search turnaround times. NLIS users can access electronic information from a range of data providers including 410 Local Authorities, national parks, HM Land Registry, the Coal Authority, the Environment Agency and water companies.

It can be used to submit all of the commonly used property searches including all those mentioned below. Searches not submitted via NLIS should be submitted directly to the relevant authority. Fees for each search can be found either from NLIS or from the relevant authority, as appropriate.

Forms and plans

If searches are submitted by post or DX, duplicate forms (together with a duplicate plan of the property if it cannot be easily identified by its postal address) are usually required. The plan must show sufficient details of