Property Search: How Local is the Local Search?

Year Published: 2016

I’ve heard two stories recently of people who have been caught out with their property search when buying a house. Both the properties purchased enjoyed splendid views over open, undeveloped land and this was one of the main reasons they decided to buy the property.

Unfortunately, within weeks of buying the properties, both discovered that developers had already applied for planning permission to develop the open land adjoining the property they had just purchased and it was too late to object to the development.

They complained to the solicitors who acted for them, wondering why the applications had not been picked up by the local search. What they had not realised was that their local search only concerned the property they were purchasing and the planning history revealed by that search did not include applications concerning the adjoining land.

This is a common mistake made when buying a property. If the land next to the property you are purchasing is undeveloped, or there is potential for redevelopment in the future, you should consider carrying out a planning search as well as a local search. A planning search (which are priced from £30.00*) will reveal planning permissions and planning applications concerning land within 250 metres of the property that you intend to purchase. In this case if the buyer had obtained such a search, they would have known that the adjoining land was about to be developed and they could then have made an informed choice about whether to go ahead with the purchase.

If you are buying a property with a view and the view is important to you, make sure you tell your solicitor so that the appropriate additional searches and enquiries are made, including a planning search.

For more information about a property search or any other matters, please contact Stewart Smith in our Property team on 01244 305919.

*Price correct at Jan 2016 and excluding vat.

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