How Much Are Conveyancing Search Costs in Westminster?
The searches organised by your solicitor are a vital part of the conveyancing process and essential when buying a home. The reports provided from these searches can highlight essential information and crucial details about a property and the surrounding area.
The information provided by your search reports will highlight any flood risks in the area, the levels of Radon Gas in the home, any concerns regarding ground stability and information on previous industrial activity which may have had a negative impact on the land. This can allow you to make an educated decision on your property purchase.
The local authority search is split into two parts - the Local Land Charges Search (LLC1) and the CON29 form. The cost for these searches will depend on the location of the property you are looking to purchase. The cost of the Local Land Charges Search (LLC1) in Westminster is £35 and the CON29 form is £155. The basic search, which is the LLC1 and CON29 combined is £190 and additional enquiries cost £35.
Local Land Charges Search (LLC1)
£35 inc VAT
The LLC1 search informs purchasers of restrictions or charges affecting the use of the property, such as tree preservation orders, enforcement notices, planning permissions and financial charges.
£155 inc VAT
The CON29 provides information on matters such as local plans, highways and assets of community value.
Optional enquiries (form CON290)
£35 inc VAT
These are additional enquiries to Con29 and are optional.
What Are the Flood Risks in Westminster?
Local flood risk in Westminster is predominantly from surface water sources, according to Westminster Council’s website. Surface water flooding in Westminster is closely linked to the capacity of the drainage infrastructure, which includes highway gullies and the sewer system.
As Westminster sits on the north bank of the Tidal River Thames it is also potentially susceptible to both tidal and fluvial flooding. However, this risk is low due to the standard of protection offered by the Thames Barrier and associated Thames Tidal Flood Defences. The risk of flooding from groundwater is also considered to be very low in the borough.
Your solicitor will arrange for searches that will be able to tell you if the property you are looking to buy is potentially impacted by any flooding risks in Westminster. It is essential that you pay close attention to the reports sent to you following the searches and raise any concerns you may have, prior to completion.
Are there Ground Stability Concerns in Westminster?
Ground stability and subsidence can result in a building or home becoming unstable, potentially making it unsafe to live in. As a result, subsidence can also cause the property to decrease dramatically in value.
Discovering ground instability or subsidence on your property can be a serious concern for homeowners. It is important to be aware of any issues before you decided to purchase a property, which is why ground stability is something that can be highlighted by the searches organised by a conveyancer.
There is likely to be a higher risk of ground stability concerns for properties in Westminster, due to its location in central London. The City of London is a known hotspot for ground instability as many properties in the Greater London area are built of London Clay. This type of clay is a shrinkable soil type and susceptible to changes, which can result in unstable ground and subsidence.
A map created by Geobear identifying the UK subsidence hotspots shows a concentrated area of subsidence and ground stability in Westminster and across Central London. Geobear state that the reasons for this, in addition to the area being built on London Clay, include increased weight and pressure on the ground from multiple buildings and skyscrapers in a condensed area.
When it comes to ground stability risks for the home you are looking to buy in Westminster, your conveyancer will organise the necessary searches for the property. The search report will provide details of previous land use and highlight any risks of landslides, subsidence and any other concerns regarding the stability of the ground.
- 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 Westminster?
Radon Gas is a colourless and odourless gas formed by radioactive decay of small amounts of uranium that occurs naturally in rocks and soil. Higher levels of Radon Gas can potentially cause a number of health issues, including lung cancer. The searches arranged by your solicitor will also include reporting on the level of Radon Gas in Westminster.
A heat map of Radon Gas affected areas from Public Health England shows that Radon Gas levels are considerably low for Westminster and the surrounding area. As a result, it is unlikely that this will be flagged as an issue when purchasing a home in Westminster.
However, due to the health risks associated with the gas, it is important that you read the search reports thoroughly so that you have peace of mind that Radon Gas will not impact your Westminster home.
Is Contaminated Land an Issue in Westminster?
Any land that contains pollution and substances which can be harmful to humans, natural water systems and/or the environment is considered “contaminated land” in the UK. The contamination found in the land across the country today likely has origins in the pollution created by the industrial development and processes from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Westminster Council’s website states that there are currently no contaminated land sites or ‘special sites’ (as they are known under the Environmental Protection Act) in the borough.
There are also no domestic refuse landfill sites, sludge disposal or diseased animal burial sites within the City of Westminster boundary.
That said, it is still essential for the searches on the land and surrounding areas to take place. The report produced following the searches organised by your conveyancer will include details from the Westminster council describing the previous land uses on the site of the property. These searches also include reviewing historic maps of the borough. This will ensure there are no concerns regarding contamination and previous use of the land where your new home resides.