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Local Authority Search

Searches can be required for several reasons but the most common reason is when purchasing a property or land. They are carried out to make sure potential purchasers are aware of any restrictions or obligations on them by purchasing the property and are usually requested by solicitors acting for their clients. Restrictions or obligations revealed in a local authority search are known as Local Land Charges and are recorded in the Local Land Charges Register.   

Results are usually confirmed on an Official Certificate of Search (Form LLCI) however alternative options are available such as a personal search by inspecting the Local Land Charges Register.

Amongst other things, they also provide the history of the property for planning applications and building regulations together with road information and potential road schemes that may influence your decision to buy. This information is typically revealed in answers to Form CON29.

Search results are certified up to and including the date it is stamped and returned to you or your solicitor. This is because the information being requested can change frequently. Guidance suggests that an accepted period of validity is three months. Official local authority searches are also covered by our indemnity insurance.

A local authority search is just one of the searches carried out during the conveyancing process. Others may include Land Registry, drainage and water searches.

Further information about 'buying a home' is available on The Law Society's website and at Gov.UK

Information about 'selling a home' is also available at Gov.UK

About us

Find out what we offer

Our Local Land Charges brochure [pdf] 8236KB outlines our service, our commitment to you and guidance on our online portal submission method.

On receipt of a local authority search request, we research and collate the information from departments, providing information about the property that may be of interest. We are the source of most of the information and therefore best placed to provide answers to these questions.

We currently offer a search update service for searches less than six months old at a minimal cost.

National guidance on turnaround is within 10 working days however our turnaround typically ranges between 2-5 working days depending on workload. Please contact us for an up to date turnaround time. You can:

ABC Shortlisted for Best LLC Department of the Last 10 Years

We were shortlisted in 2017 for best local land charges department over the past 10 years. This was a special award created in order to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Land Data Local Land Charges Awards. 

Just being shortlisted is major recognition of the continued dedication of our experienced but small team who strive to provide the best product and service for our customers.  

We were also shortlisted in two categories in 2015:

  • Best performing NLIS level 3 local land charges department
  • Customer satisfaction for local authority searches

Customer Feedback Review

"We have recently received the local authority search result from yourselves in respect of the above, and I just wanted to drop a line to say how impressed we are! You're an example to other local authorities - not only was the result returned really swiftly, but the provision of the relevant planning and building regulations documents is fantastic, so thank you very much!"

Laura Swindles, Conveyancing Executive, Emin Read Solicitors (July 2018)

Frequently Asked Questions

+ What is a CON29 form?

The form contains a standard set of enquiries agreed by central government, the Law Society and local authorities.

The CON29 enquiry form serves to provide prospective purchasers with information that relates to the property being searched and in some cases the area where the property is situated that may influence your decision to buy. Amongst other things, they provide the history of the property for planning applications and building regulations together with road information and potential road schemes that you are likely to want to know before purchasing. The Official Certificate of Search confirms charges that are already binding or restrictive on subsequent owners whereas the CON29 tends to reveal matters that may become charges. The CON29 and LLCI are therefore complimentary and tend to be requested together to form what is known as an Official Local Authority Search. 

The majority of information used in response to the CON29 enquiries comes from within the local authority or from the County Council (where applicable).

A CON29 enquiry form can be completed by either the local authority or another body. However  the LA completed CON29 is backed by LA insurance and is commonly referred to as an official CON29. Completion of the CON29 form by the LA is not a statutory function but a contractual one upon payment of the required fee.

The Law Society CON29 form guidance notes.

+ What is an LLC1 form?

On submission of the LLC1 form, the applicants are provided with details of entries on the Local Land Charges Register in respect of the property(s) being searched. An LLC1 search can be carried out in respect of 12 parts of the Register or just single parts. The official Certificate of Search (LLC1) can only be issued and signed by a local authority. If it's signed by anyone other than the local authority, it is null and void.

+ Will my solicitor request an official search?

Not always. Whilst an Official Certificate of Search can only be provided by us as the Local Authority, private companies can also inspect the Local Land Charges Register to provide search results. They can also answer CON29 enquiries from inspecting registers or requesting answers to information that might not be readily available.If you want to ensure you only get an official local authority search, make sure your instruction to your solicitor is absolutely clear. Please don’t assume this what you will get as standard.

+ Why would I get an official search?

Our responses are provided by trained staff that have the necessary knowledge and expertise to extract and interpret the relevant information. They are produced and certified by us; the source of most of the information.Ensure that the property you intent to buy doesn’t have any nasty surprises in store for you.

+ What’s the difference between a personal search and an official search by the local authority?

The official Certificate of Search (LLC1) can only be issued and signed by a local authority. If it's signed by anyone other than the local authority, it is null and void. A personal search allows inspection of the Local Land Charges Register free of charge by anyone but is not signed or guaranteed by the local authority.

+ Are local authority searches more expensive and do they take longer than one provided by a private company?

We generally don't have access to search prices, turnaround and products provided by private companies and therefore this is difficult for us to answer. We can only tell you what we offer:

Cost
We are not able to make a profit on our product as we are bound by legislation. Private companies are not bound by the same rules. This may mean that you pay more for their product that is not guaranteed by us.

Turnaround
Our search results, on average, are returned to your solicitor within 2-5 working days.

Access to the Local Land Charges Register by private companies is generally available within 24 hours of us receiving a request however, they can request a date and time convenient to them. It's not uncommon for appointments to be requested for dates in the future; sometimes one or two weeks later.

+ Are Local Authority Searches insured?

All local authorities carry indemnity insurance. Authorities can also offer an additional benefit, in that they can in certain situations offer to remediate matters and this can often be more attractive to a purchaser than pursuing an insurance claim.

+ How can I access records?

Further information can be found on our Access to Records page.
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