Homebuyers in Sheffield will always find that their Conveyancing Solicitor will want to carry out ‘searches’ but may not always know what these involve. The Solicitor will probably collect a payment for the cost of these searches, but clients do not always get to see the search results, so do not know what they are getting for their money. In fact most searches will not show anything adversely affecting the property, and this will be mentioned in the report on title. But without the search itself, house-buyers will not know what is or is not actually covered.
Local Searches in Sheffield
The main property search carried out is usually known as a 'local search'. For property in Sheffield, this is sent to Sheffield City Council at the Town Hall, Pinstone Street, Sheffield, S1 2HH. These days, most Conveyancing Solicitors now request searches electronically, which saves time. The local search falls into two parts, a ‘local land charges search’ and an enquiry form. Sheffield council is obliged to maintain a register of these local land charges, which are prohibitions or charges binding on successive owners. Examples include tree preservation orders, enforcement notices and outstanding financial charges.
Financial charges might be such things as improvement grants made to the seller, which can be repayable when a property is sold. Although they are not often encountered, if such a charge is registered then it is similar to a mortgage, and the buyer’s Conveyancing Solicitor will have to make sure that arrangements are made for the grant to be repaid on completion, or otherwise the buyer will be liable to pay it.
Completing the General Enquiry Form
The general enquiry form which is also usually sent as part of the local search covers a range of areas, and the replies will show any planning and building regulation applications for the property, planning designations and proposals, whether the road is maintained by Sheffield Council, if there are any nearby traffic and road or railway schemes, whether the Council has made a decision to compulsorily purchase or acquire the property, and whether it falls within a radon affected area. Conveyancing Solicitors can also ask the Council to reply to a number of additional questions on the form if these are relevant for a particular property. These include queries as to whether there is a public footpath or gas pipeline crossing the property, and whether a house is registered as a house in multiple occupation.
The most important information in the replies is whether the road adjoining the house is adopted and maintained by the Council. Although most houses in Sheffield will abut public roads, this cannot always be assumed. Many houses on new developments are served by private driveways, which will be shared by a number of properties, and when acting for buyers of such properties Conveyancing Solicitors must check that there is a necessary legal right of way from the nearest adopted road.
Sheffield Drainage and Water Searches
The other search usually carried out by Conveyancing Solicitors is a drainage and water search. Sheffield is within the area covered by Yorkshire Water, and the search will show whether the house is connected to mains water and drainage. Although most house-buyers in Sheffield will assume that any house in the area is going to be connected to the mains, the area administered by Sheffield City Council covers a large area to the west of the City, including many more rural properties which may have drainage to a septic tank or other such arrangement.
Do I need an Environmental Search for my Sheffield Purchase?
Conveyancing Solicitors acting for house-buyers in Sheffield will also generally arrange for an environmental search to be carried out. Sheffield has a long connection with the steel industry, but many other industries have been carried on in the area, many of which have now ceased. Unfortunately, much previous industry has caused soil contamination, which will be of concern to householders as an owner could be liable to pay for the cost of removing any such contamination. New houses may have been built on former industrial sites, while older properties could be adjacent to such sites and could be affected. Therefore Conveyancing Solicitors obtain these environmental searches to provide details of any recorded industrial sites within the vicinity of the property, including existing usage.
Get a Sheffield Conveyancing quote.
Solicitors find that most buyers do not want to be overburdened with lengthy documents, and rely on the Solicitor to tell them if there is anything important in the results. But if you are buying a house in Sheffield, and want to have more details of the search results, by all means ask your Conveyancing Solicitor for copies – after all, you have paid for them!
As search results are now often returned electronically, in many cases your Solicitor can just send you the search as an attachment to an email, so no paperwork is involved.
To get your searches underway, instruct a Solicitor for Conveyancing in Sheffield today, or call us on 0330 660 0286 for more details.