Burnetts logo

Types of searches

A key part of any land or property transaction.


We advise clients that searches are necessary to enable us to deal with the matter.

Please note that if a lender is involved in the transaction, they will require these be obtained as part of their usual due diligence requirements.

Types of searches

The types of searches we would advise a purchaser to obtain include the following:

Index map search (£4.00 plus VAT)

An index map search confirms whether a property is registered at the Land Registry (and, if so, the title number(s) under which it is registered). If a property is not registered, an index map search will show whether a property is subject to any pending applications for registration or any cautions against first registration.

Local land charges search (Included in Local Authority Search – see below)

A search of the local land charges register shows matters such as compulsory purchase orders, tree preservation orders, planning enforcement notices and financial charges registered against a property. You should note that the search result provides a snapshot of the register on the date of the search. Local land charges registered after the date of the search will still bind a property.

Local authority search (including any optional and additional enquiries) (approx. £100 - £200 with additional fees for optional enquiries)

A local authority search reveals important information about a property, such as planning permissions and building regulation consents, proposals for road schemes and environmental and pollution notices. A local authority search only reveals matters that affect the property being searched against. It will not disclose matters that affect neighbouring properties.

Drainage and water enquiries (approx. £150 - £300 plus VAT with United Utilities)

The replies to drainage and water enquiries show whether a property is connected to the mains water supply and mains drainage. The replies may also show the location of public sewers within the boundary of a property and other such matters that may restrict development.

Environmental search (approx. £200 - £500 plus VAT depending on provider and quotation)

If a local authority determines that land is contaminated, and the party who caused the contamination cannot be found, the current owner or occupier of the land may be required to remedy the contamination. This can be an expensive process, so it is important to assess the risk of land being contaminated before committing to buy a property.

An environmental data search can be used to establish the risk of land being contaminated, by collating information from regulatory bodies, floodplain data and a review of current and historic land uses. This type of search is also known as a "desktop search". An environmental data search does not include a site visit or testing of soil or groundwater samples.

Coal mining search (Subject to quote at time of search)

A coal mining search provides details of past, present and future coal mining activity at a property. The search also indicates if there are mine shafts on the property and whether any mining activities may cause subsidence.

Commons registration search (approx. £20 plus VAT)

A commons registration search identifies whether any part of a property is registered as common land or as a town or village green. The possibility of land being common land or a town or village green is significant, as the land may be subject to third party rights and the owner's ability to use or develop the land may be restricted.

Chancel repair search (£20.00 plus VAT)

A chancel repair search shows whether the owner of a property may be liable to contribute towards the cost of repairs to the chancel of a parish church. We would advise you not to contact any parish churches directly in relation to chancel repair liability, as this may limit the availability of indemnity insurance.

If the Chancel Repair Search reveals that the land is located in a Parish which continues to have potential chancel repair liability although there may be no evidence that chancel repair payments have been required, there is a risk that liability could be incurred.  We are only aware of one or two incidents in the last 30 years or so in which liability was incurred after several years of ownership of the property in the same situation.

Assuming that exchange and completion take place simultaneously, indemnity insurance will not be required. If completion takes place days or weeks after exchange there is a risk that a chancel repair liability could be registered against the property in the period between exchange and completion.

If you want to guard against the risk of chancel respire liability we would advise you to consider taking out a Chancel Repair indemnity insurance policy to protect your Property from any potential liability.  If you wish, we will obtain a quote for such an insurance policy to be taken out and let you know how much it will cost.

Gypsum Mining Search (approx. £25.00 plus VAT)

A Gypsum Mining search shows whether a property is built on or near to a former Gypsum mine. It also reveals the proximity of mine workings to the property, when the mine was worked, the depth of workings and if there are any planning consents to carry out workings

Enquiries as to utilities, such as electricity and gas

If there are any other matters which are specific to the Property or your plans for the same which are of concern to you please let us know and we will look into further investigations that can be carried out.

Who to contact

Joanne McKenzie profile photo

Joanne McKenzie

Joanne is a Partner and head of the firm's Agribusiness team.