The principle of “buyer beware” applies to the purchase of property in English Law. Accordingly it is the task of the Buyer’s Solicitors to investigate and find out as much about the property as possible.
There are a number of different searches that can be made:-
Local Authority Search: This Search will reveal a mine of useful information including whether a Local Authority has any financial charges over a property (which a Buyer would take subject to), details of planning permissions, compulsory purchase order rights and obligations concerning drainage, roads, proceedings for breach of building regulations and much other information.
Company Search: This Search is required where the purchase is from a limited company (such as a housebuilder) to establish that the company has the power to sell the property, or whether the Vendor Company is being wound up which might prevent the company entering into a Contract for sale.
Chancel Search: If the property is situated in a Parish containing an ancient Church the property may bear a liability to contribute towards the costs of repairs to the Chancel. These liabilities are an historical anomaly – but the liabilities are potentially large.
Environmental Searches: These searches will provide diverse information about the environment – but importantly contain information on flooding risk.
Miscellaneous: There are many further property or region specific searches which can be appropriate, for example coal mining searches, limestone working searches, brine extraction searches and clay mining searches – which all reveal risk of subsidence from mining operations.