14 December 2010 by Sarah Davies

Conveyancing Masterclass II

When buying a new home your solicitor will arrange for searches to be carried out on the property. There are a number of searches which may potentially be arranged depending on the location of the property for instance a Tin Mining search if the property is in Cornwall or a Brine search if it is in Cheshire. The main two searches carried out in every instance will be a Local Search and a Drainage and Water Search.

The Local search is carried out upon receipt of contract papers from the seller’s solicitors. It is a search carried out with the local authority for the area in which the property is situated and it reveals details of such matters as planning permissions on the property; improvement grants which may have to be repaid; road schemes in the immediate vicinity and such matters as compulsory purchase orders and notices under the Public Heath Act.

This stage of the conveyancing process used to be the cause of serious delays due to the amount of time it took for local authorities to process searches. It is now much quicker due to the fact that many local authorities have become computerised in recent years. The average turnaround period for a local search is normally less than two weeks. Increased efficiency has however led to an increase in price! In 1986 a local authority search cost £16.30 throughout the country. An average search in Greater London now costs approximately £200 and each Borough fixes its own fee. The search lasts for a period of six months from the date of issue. As a result some buyers will not apply for a search until they are absolutely sure that they are proceeding which can be after they have received their survey result.

The Drainage and Water Search is compiled with information taken from the property’s water and sewerage provider though often via a central search provider with a cost of around £40-£50. It details whether the property is connected to mains water and sewers and whether any of those mains and pipes are located within the property’s boundaries. The search also gives details on whether the property is likely to suffer from low water pressure, if there is a water meter and a recent water quality analysis.

Knowing the location of pipes and mains is important as it may affect whether you can extend or alter a property. You will generally be responsible for the cost of maintaining and repairing any connections between your property and the public sewer, if these are shared between neighbours then the cost is usually split.

In addition to these two main searches many solicitors will also carry out a ‘chancel search’ on the property as well. This search is carried out to determine whether there is a risk that the Church has the right to force the property owner into making a contribution towards the maintenance and repair of the local church’s chancel (part of the building). This may seem quite strange however there is an ancient law from many hundreds of years ago still in place today which does allow the Church to claim from property owners in certain circumstances. It is thought that this ‘rectorial land’ or land which has a potential liability exists in over 5300 parishes today.

A full search can be carried out at a cost of around £120 which will give a definite answer on whether a property is affected. Generally a liability search is more often carried out which states whether there is a potential risk or not, this is at a much reduced cost of around £15. If this liability search does reveal a potential risk then most property owners will have the option of taking out an insurance policy to protect them should the Church ever make a claim, the cost of the policy being minimal against the potential claim from the Church.

With the conveyancing precedent of ‘buyer beware’ the information given in these searches is vital in giving as full a picture as possible on your new property.

14 December 2010 by Yezdan Izzet

Third Party Guarantees and what you need to know

It is common on the grant of a commercial lease for the tenant’s obligations to be guaranteed by a third party (known as a guarantor) especially where the tenant is a company as the landlord may require the Directors to act as guarantor of the tenants obligations or where there is a long commercial lease (usually above 5 years).

14 December 2010 by Sarah Davies

Conveyancing Masterclass

When we talk about the deeds to a house many people think about reams of old papers and stacks of documents, the reality is generally much more simple.

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