Standard pre-contract searches

The following Property practice 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?
  • Local Authority Search and search of the Local Land Charges Register
  • Drainage and Water Search
  • Index Map Search
  • Chancel liability search
  • Highways search
  • Environmental Search
  • More...

Standard pre-contract searches

Coronavirus (COVID-19): The requirements to obtain an EPC before a property is sold or let can be difficult to satisfy when social distancing measures apply. EPC assessments should only be conducted in accordance with government advice on home moving during the coronavirus outbreak and where the EPC assessment can be conducted safely—see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—implications for property — EPCs and social distancing.

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

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