Conveyancing Searches

Conveyancing Searches FAQs

What follows are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding conveyancing searches in general. We will then go on to discuss particular types of search individually.

What are "conveyancing searches"?

The searches are a set of standard enquiries raised by the purchaser's conveyancer with a particular authority, for example the local search is raised with the local council, the drainage & water search with the water authority etc. Conveyancing searches deal only with the legal aspects of the purchase. They are not surveys and will not give information on the physical condition of the property.

Why do I Need Conveyancing Searches?

Searches give crucial information regarding 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, whether it is subject to ant planning enforcement notices etc.

Can I Proceed Without Conveyancing Searches?

Although he would be ill-advised to do so, a cash purchaser is perfectly entitled to proceed without searches being carried out. As an alternative he may wish to purchase indemnity insurance, or simply ignore the issue altogether. If buying with the benefit of a mortgage however, the purchaser is under an obligation to the lender to obtain conveyancing searches. The lender may accept indemnity insurance as an alternative. It should be made very clear to a purchaser however that insurance will only cover any loss of value to a property, or any essential expenses, resulting from something which would have been revealed had a search been carried out. It does not prevent any action being taken and does not provide compensation for any resultant inconvenience.

How Much Will The Conveyancing Searches Cost?

The cost is far too variable to be discussed here in detail and should be ascertained at the time. Costs vary from area to area, also depending which search agency (if any) is used. As a rough guide a purchaser might expect to pay somewhere between £100 - £300 on searches.

Which Conveyancing Searches Might I Need?

This depends on the location of the property. All properties should have the benefit of a local authority search. In addition some conveyancers will carry out a drainage & water search and perhaps an environmental search as a matter of course. Depending on the geographical location different types of mining searches might also be needed. If the property is next to a canal or river, then perhaps a British Waterways search should be considered. We will discuss the various types of searches in more detail later in this section.

Types of Conveyancing Searches

Following is a list of the majority of the conveyancing searches which are available. A chapter dedicated to each type of search can be found using the menu on the left. There are some which are very rare, and though I will list them, the information I can provide may be limited.

Local Authority Search                         

Drainage Search

Environmental Search                           

Coal Mining Search

Commons Registration Search              

Chancel Liability Search

Cheshire Brine Search                           

Tin Mining Search

British Waterways Search                      

Search of the Index Map(SIM)

Gypsum Search                                     

Lead Mining

China Clay Search                                

Limestone Search


The above list is not entirely exhaustive, there are other types of search available, however those not on the list are sufficiently rare that I have never come across them.

Searches By Location

As mentioned above different types of searches are required depending on the location of the property. To see which particular searches should be carried out in your area choose the "searches by geographical location" option from the menu or click on the link previously.