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Pre Contract Searches Notes

LPC Law Notes > Property Law and Practice Notes

This is an extract of our Pre Contract Searches document, which we sell as part of our Property Law and Practice Notes collection written by the top tier of Cambridge And Oxilp And College Of Law students.

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PRE-CONTRACT SEARCHES
Searches should be made because:

1. Principle of caveat emptor

2. Seller only has a limited duty of disclosure

3. Buyer's solicitor should check for incumbrances and the effect on clients plans, value and resale
Search
Local Land
Charges
Register

Form/where?
LLC1

When?
Always

Local authority

CON29/
CON29O

Always

Pre-contract enquiries of the seller

Residential:
SPIF (or SLIF
for leasehold)
Commercial:
CPSE

Always

Water and drainage

The water company serving the property
Professional search provider
Buyer

Always

Environmenta l
Personal
Inspection

Chancel repair ChancelCheck

Company

Against
Registered No.
at Companies
House

Flood

Environment
Agency
Environmentagency.gov.uk

[Desktop]
always required
Always

When in the vicinity of a medieval church
When the seller is a company

When near river, costal or surface water

Why?
Reveals many things which the buyer should be advised on and consider how it will affect the buyer's proposed use.
If planning permission is revealed, then the seller should be required to produce copies.
Where financial charges are revealed, the seller will be requested to discharge these prior to completion.
They will help build up a complete picture of the property and may influence his decision as to whether or not to proceed with the purchase.
Elicit information from the seller, mainly relating to the physical aspects of the property, which he is not bound by law to disclose
E.g. whether there has been change in use of the property
If the property does not drain into a public sewer, the buyer will be liable for costs of maintaining. If there is a public sewer, their consent will be needed for development.
Clean up liabilities, dangers of contamination and decision whether to buy.
Look for boundaries, evidence of easements,
existence of other occupiers, and discrepancy in fixtures and fittings
Because you may be liable to contribute towards the repair of the chancel

Check if the company exists, if it owns the land, if it has the power to buy and sell the land, any floating and/or fixed charges (noncrystallisation) and financial position (walk away if insolvent because there could be a significant delay)
One in six homes in England are at risk from flooding and in recent years the number of flooding incidents has risen. The Law Society notes that a solicitor should discuss with client.

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