What are Conveyancing Searches?


Conveyancing searches are enquiries submitted to various authorities which provide you with more information about the property you plan to purchase. These include Local Councils, the Environmental Agency, and Coal and Water Authorities.

Searches provide crucial information relating to the property, for example, whether or not the road serving it is a publicly adopted highway, whether there are any mineshafts in the immediate vicinity and whether the property is subject to any planning enforcement notices. During the Conveyancing process, your Simpson Millar Conveyancer or Conveyancing Solicitor will conduct these searches on your behalf.

For free initial advice get in touch with our Conveyancing Solicitors.

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Conveyancing Searches Explained

Local Authority Search

This search is made to the Local Authority of the property being purchased. Amongst other issues, this search will show:

All Planning Matters

This would include planning matters made in recent years and the result of the applications, building regulations applications and any enforcement proceedings for breaches of any planning or building regulations.


It will tell us whether the roads around the property are public roads or not. It will also tell us whether there are any road schemes within 200 metres of the property and will give details of traffic schemes.

Contaminated Land

This search will give details of any entries in the property register. However, it will not give a full report and if this is a concern you should opt for an Environmental Search (see below).

Railways and Tramlines

This search will give details of any proposed railway or tram schemes within 200 metres of the property.

Compulsory Purchase Orders

This search will give details of whether the property is subject to Compulsory Purchase, which means that the Local Authority could order that you vacate the property (in exchange for compensation) for the purposes of planning or development.

Outstanding Notices

For instance, it will give details of whether a Repair Notice has been issued against the property, the result of which is that the owner of the property would have to pay for the repairs.

The Local Authority Search fee varies from area to area. At Simpson Millar we provide details of the applicable Local Authority Search fee, if this is required, when we provide a Conveyancing quote. This search is made direct to the Local Authority for where the property is located. The results are usually received within 1 to 2 weeks depending on the Local Authority.

Coal Mining Search

This Conveyancing search is made to the Coal Authority and will show whether the property has been mined under and if so when. It will also give details of subsidence claims over the last 20 years. This search is compulsory (in a former mining area) if you are buying a house with a mortgage or remortgaging. Conveyancing Solicitors rely on guidance from the Coal Authority as to areas that require a Mining Search. This search is carried out online and the results are usually received within 24 hours.

Drainage Search

This search will indicate if the property is connected to both the foul drainage and service drainage. We will also be sent a map showing the location of public sewers and the mains drainage. The fee for this search differs depending on which water company the search has to be obtained from. This search is carried out online and the results are usually received within 7 working days.

Land Charges Search

This search checks whether any of the buyers have previously been registered as bankrupt and is compulsory when buying a property with a mortgage or remortgaging. This search is carried out online before completion.

Land Registry Search (OS1) £3.00

This Conveyancing search checks that no applications have been made to the Land Registry that could prevent the property being owned by the buyer, such as a Caution or Restriction.

Environmental Search

This search deals with issues of contamination, which can affect the value of the property. Also, if contamination is found after the property is purchased, the new owner will be responsible for any clean up costs. This search will check:

      • The position of any registered landfill sites
      • The position of any stores of hazardous substances
      • Any waste treatment sites
      • Any treatment of radioactive substances
      • Any regulated air pollution
      • Any pylons, masts or overhead transmission lines

Chancel Check

This is an optional search. If your property is in a certain type of Church of England parish, there may be a liability to make payment towards church repairs and these could be substantial. A Chancel Check will identify this and, if needed, specialist insurance can be obtained.

For more information see What is a Chancel Repair Liability?

Flood Check

This is another optional Conveyancing search. According to the Environmental Agency, approximately 2 million properties are located in flood risk areas. A flood check reveals whether the property is at risk. If you have any concerns about the possibility of flooding, our Conveyancers would urge you to obtain a Flood Check report.

For free initial advice call our Conveyancing Solicitors

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