How Much Are Conveyancing Searches in London?
Your conveyancer will arrange conveyancing searches with your local authority to find out if there’s anything affecting the property you plan to buy and the land surrounding it. There are 3 main conveyancing searches your conveyancer will arrange, these are usually sold as a package and are made up of Local Authority Searches, Environmental Searches and Water and Drainage Searches.
The main search will be the Local Authority searches and these will be carried out by your local council. We’ve done the research to help with your house hunt in London and listed the cost of Local Authority Searches in The City of London. As London is split into 33 boroughs, prices will vary by each borough so you should check out your local councils’ website for more information.
The local authority search is split into two parts, the Local Land Charges Search (LLC1) and the CON29 form. According to the City of London council website, a Local Authority Search will cost a total of £133.20 (£111.00 +VAT). The cost of Local Land Charges Search (LLC1) will be £15 and can be done via the Land Registry, whilst the CON29 forms will cost £133.20 (£111.00 +VAT).
The council charges £36.00 (£30.00 + VAT) per question for each parcel of land added to a CON29 or CON290 and each question added by a solicitor to a CON29 or CON290. Your conveyancer will be responsible for arranging these searches during the conveyancing process for your peace of mind.
Local Land Charges Search (LLC1)
£15 inc VAT
This will be done via the Land Registry and will search for restrictions (local land charges) on land or property
£133.20 (£111.00 +VAT) inc VAT
The CON29 forms are used to request information from the local authority. They can provide important information that could affect your property and the area in future.
£7.20 per question (£6.00 + VAT) inc VAT
The CON290 is a set of optional additional questions to ask the local authority.
What are the Flood Risks in London?
The River Thames flows through London and the tidal range reaches as far inland as the borough of Richmond. Many parts of London were built on the tidal floodplain, with the city having the highest number of people at risk from flooding regionally. Although London is well protected from tidal and river flooding, the presence of climate change makes it difficult to prepare for unpredicted sources of flooding such as heavy rainfall.
According to the government's Long Term Flood Risk Map, London’s rivers are at a high risk of flooding. However, the City of London’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment Strategy shows that this would have a limited effect on the risk of direct flooding to residential properties, with it only affecting a handful of homes in the City of London.
South-east London has 259,000 properties that have a moderate or significant risk of flooding. In Greater London, 542,000 properties are located in the floodplain but fortunately, 84% of these homes are in areas that have a low chance of flooding. There are 84,000 properties in London near the tributaries of the River Thames in the North and South that pose a moderate or significant risk of flooding in London, according to an Environment Agency report.
When you’re buying a house in London, you’ll need to hire a conveyancer to help you with the legal process. As part of the conveyancing process, your conveyancer will arrange conveyancing searches which include a Local authority Search, Environmental Search and Water and Drainage Search. Your Environmental Search will highlight if the property you plan to buy is at risk of flooding. You can also get an additional Flooding Search for peace of mind.
Are There Ground Stability Concerns in London?
During your Environmental Search, your conveyancer will arrange for a Ground Stability report to be carried out on the property and area around it. The report will search for signs of subsidence and risks of a landslide. It’s important to be aware of any issues with ground stability as it could affect your property and its future value.
One main cause of ground stability is subsidence. Unfortunately, London is one of the most affected cities in the UK for subsidence according to a UK Subsidence Map, with the South-East most affected. The capital has one of the highest-shrink-swell clay hazards in the country, which translates to 1 in 50 houses in London suffering from subsidence.
Many homes across London were built on one of the most shrinkable soil types, London Clay. This UK Distribution of Clay Map shows that London has a hazard level D of shrink-swell clay soil and is surrounded by many hazard level E areas. Homes in North London are at a high risk of subsidence and ground instability due to many Victorian and Edwardian properties that were built with a combination of shallow foundations and poor soil.
It’s extremely important that you hire a conveyancer not only to help you with the legal side of buying a house but to also carry out the vital Environmental Search to unearth any issues that could potentially cause harm to your property.
- Reveals instability issues from natural or man-made hazards.
- Highlights historic and current landfill sites.
- Identifies natural ground subsidence.
- Recognises historic tin, coal, clay and any other mining activity.
What Are the Radon Gas Levels in London?
Radon is a colourless and odourless gas that is present throughout the UK. Most cities and towns in the UK have a low risk of radon, but some areas will face a higher threat of radon entering the property. Your conveyancer will arrange a Local Authority Search during the conveyancing process which will be able to detect the risk level of radon.
Most of London has a low level of radon gas, as you can see looking at the UK Radon Map. The risk of radon across London is less than 1%, but there is a small risk in Hemel Hempstead, Maidenhead and across Dartford.
With Greater London’s population, the most affected areas are at risk of a 10% radon gas level. Guildford has some of the highest levels of radon in the South-east, whilst 5% of houses in Purley are advised to get checked for their level of radon. A Local Authority Search during the conveyancing process will highlight levels of radon gas, so you’ll have peace of mind before committing to buy the house.
Is Contaminated Land an Issue in London?
Contaminated land is when substances or soil can cause potential harm to people, property or protected species. If the property you’re buying is built on or near contaminated land, it will be flagged in your conveyancing searches organised by your conveyancer. It’s important to be aware of contaminated land as it could affect your property in the future and any decisions you make.
Contaminated land is usually land that has previously been used as landfill or for mining. According to the City of London’s council website, there are no sites in the City of London that have been classified as contaminated land and there are no records of current or former landfills. The City of London has a Contaminated Land Strategy in place to identify any contaminated land and take responsibility for the remediation of the land.
However, many areas of London have been left with poisonous soil from its war-time damage, with researchers at British Geological Survey stating the soil is contaminated with high levels of calcium, lead and zinc. The soil with the highest levels of contamination can be found in areas that were heavily damaged in the war. Demolition of historic housing played a huge role in the contaminated land, as the poisonous elements were widely used to make paint, piping and mortar in 19th-century construction.c