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5 Top Tips for Freehold Conveyancing in Essex

The County of Essex covers a huge area of land and due to the differing nature of the types of properties you may find there, there are number of issues that may arise when buying a property in Essex and which your conveyancing lawyer should be on the look out for.

According to the Essex County Council website, over a third of a million of disposable  nappies are disposed of in landfill sites based in Essex!  Landfill sites are present in a number of places in Essex such as Colchester, Brentwood and Halstead. If you are buying a house in an area which may be close to a landfill site an environmental search should be carried out to ascertain the proximity of the landfill site to your property and its impact. Not all lawyers conveyancing in Essex carry out environmental searches.  

The importance of searches in Essex Conveyancing

The environmental search agents will flag up any areas of concern relating to environmental issues and the conveyancer should investigate these matters and, if necessary, the lender should be notified.   Land contamination has become a huge issue over the last five years and a prospective purchaser should be aware of anything that may affect the value of the property  and the ‘clean up costs’ in relation to land contamination could potentially be huge.  

Colchester is an extremely old city and has buildings that date back many centuries.   The local planning authority may designate any part of the area as a conservation area depending on the buildings in the area as they may be of historic or special architectural interest. There may be restrictions on the development of a non listed building in a conservation area and checks need to be carried out by you or your solicitor in Essex with the local authority. A number of conservation areas can be seen in Colchester, Braintree and Brentwood for example.

There are over 14, 000 listed buildings in Essex. A prospective buyer should be aware that alterations to listed buildings require special listed buildings consent which should be applied for from the local council. Listed buildings are graded differently and the particular grading will have an impact on whether and how the property can be developed. You should check with the local council if you are unsure as to whether or not the building is listed or not.

The Diocese of Chelmsford is said to have over 600 churches.   If you are buying a property near a church your conveyancer should carry out a chancel repair search to see whether you are liable to pay towards chancel repairs associated with the church. If the liability for payment of chancel repairs is not recorded in the deeds thorough investigations need to be conducted to ascertain who is responsible for the repairs.   Repairs can be very expensive so this is a serious consideration when buying a property where the property owner is found to be liable to pay for repairs.  

There are a number of vast, open spaces in Essex, for example in the Borough of Thurrock. If you are buying a property near open land your conveyancer should check for ‘rights of way’ that you may have over the adjoining open land, if you need to access a public footpath, for example. These rights of way should be recorded in the Deeds but if nothing is mentioned your conveyancer should raise appropriate enquiries with the seller’s solicitor. Also, a ‘Commons Registration’ search should be carried out where the property borders on common land or a village green. If it transpires that any such land has been registered under the Commons Registration Act 1965, no development is permitted over that land. This is something a buyer should be aware of when buying such a property. A Commons Registration search is not one of the usual searches conducted in a purchase transaction so you should instruct a conveyancer who is familiar with that particular area of Essex and the land around it.

There may also be properties in Essex that have never been registered and your conveyancer will need to know how to deal with the purchase of properties relating to unregistered title. The Seller will have to prove his ownership of the unregistered land by supplying the buyer with what is known as an ‘epitome of title. ’  This consists of a list of all the documents that are being supplied showing a ‘good root of title’ of at least 15 continuous years. Thorough checks should be made by the conveyancer to ensure the documents are of adequate quality to establish good root of title, for example, transfers/conveyances and mortgage documents.

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