Local Land Charges
WHAT IS A LOCAL LAND CHARGES SEARCH?
Buying a property, be it a house, flat, shop, factory or a plot of land, is a major undertaking. It is probably the single most expensive investment you will ever make.
It is essential that you have as full a picture as possible of the property you are taking on and of any factors which may affect your future enjoyment of that property.
In most cases, when a property or parcel of land is purchased, leased, mortgaged or a valuation carried out, a request for a search is sent to the Local Land Charges Department at the Council in whose area the property lies. This search is usually submitted on your behalf by your solicitor or licensed conveyancer.
In simple terms, the search is an investigation into any information held by the local authority pertaining to a specific property or parcel of land and is usually required by your lender (ie. your bank or building society) as a condition of securing a mortgage loan.
A basic search comprises two parts: firstly the Official Certificate of Search which reveals all entries listed in the Local Land Charges Register* and secondly the Con 29 Enquiries Form** which consists of a series of standard questions. Information obtained from the search could provide answers to many of your questions including:-
- Are there any planning conditions which will affect my proposed use of the property?
- Is the house in a Conservation Area?
- Who maintains the roadway and footpath outside my front door?
- Are the trees in the back garden protected by a Tree Preservation Order?
- Is the property a Listed Building?
- Are there any financial charges/debts for which I will become liable?
- Are there any proposals to construct a new road or railway nearby?
- Will the Council be introducing traffic calming, road restrictions or even residents' parking?
- Is any extension built over a sewer and does it have building regulation consent?
- Is there a public footpath abutting or crossing the property/land?
*THE LOCAL LAND CHARGES REGISTER
All Local Authorities must maintain a Local Land Charges Register which contains details of "Charges" which are binding on successive owners or occupiers of a particular property or parcel of land. Charges would include conditional planning consents and planning agreements, Tree Preservation Orders, Conservation Areas and Listed Building entries, Enforcement Notices or Financial Charges (eg. details of monies owed to the Council as a result of works carried out by them in default).
**THE CON 29 ENQUIRIES FORM
As well as providing anwers to many of the questions above this form lists a number of optional enquiries for which an additional fee is payable. These optional enquiries could answer the following:-
- Is there a pipeline within 100 metres?
- Is the property affected by any hazardous substances?
- Is it in an area of outstanding natural beauty/in a noise abatement zone/in an urban development area?
IMPORTANT. The search will not tell you about planning proposals for adjacent land or property (eg. a new housing development on the field behind) unless your solicitor or conveyancer specifically asks for this information at an additional cost.
NB. Should you require access to any of the above information in another language or in large print please contact the Land Charges office at Town Hall, High Street, Gosport, PO12 1EB (Tel. 02392 545221) for assistance.