Do I need all searches recommended by my solicitor?

As the law stands it is for the buyer of a property to ensure that they make full investigation of all records at their disposal and of all matters which may affect the property. By not carrying out searches you are leaving yourself open to the risk that there may be matters contained within a search (were it to be carried out) which would have an impact on your decision to buy the property and also on the value and marketability of the property in the future.

The most common searches and those which will be required by your lender if you are using a mortgage to fund your purchase are:

• Drainage Search – This shows the location of the main public sewer (but not necessarily the shared and lateral drains which might form part of the public sewer) and confirms that the necessary legal rights to mains drainage are in place. In the case of a property which has been extended it is particularly important that we ascertain that the extension has not been built over the mains sewers, where this runs directly behind the property. If it has then specific building over agreement would have needed to have been sought from the drainage authority and the search will confirm whether this is the case. If not then the breach can have a detrimental effect on the market value of the property because if the authority cannot gain access to the sewer pipe then they have the power to demolish any part of the un-consented building to do so and they are not obliged by law to replace it. In fact they can order that it be demolished at your cost and it is unlikely that further agreement to reinstate the building would be granted.
• Environmental Search – This is a search of various historical land usage environmental records carried out on our behalf by a search agency. This confirms whether here are any environmental matters of concern particularly if notices have been served to clean up contaminated land. Clean up costs can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds and are borne by the current owner of the land regardless of whether they were the cause of the contamination or not.
• Local Authority Search – This is a questionnaire that is submitted to the Local Authority to enable us to ascertain if there are any matters that may adversely affect the property that are revealed in Local Authority records e.g. breaches of planning permissions and any breaches of regulations which may incur costs for you as the future owner to rectify. This search relates only to the property itself and not to adjoining properties..