How Much Are Conveyancing Searches in Oxford?
Some of the conveyancing searches that your conveyancer will arrange include a Local Authority Search, Environmental Search and also a Water and Drainage Search. These enquiries will be made to a variety of different authorities and will provide you with information about the property you’re hoping to buy.
One of the larger searches is the Local Authority Search. This is a query into the local area and land where the property resides. It will often come in two parts, LLC1 and CON29 and is compulsory when applying for a mortgage. Oxford City Council has created a list of these searches on their website, pricing them accordingly.
Your conveyancer will be the one to arrange these searches but it’s worth researching their average cost beforehand to enable you to budget properly. According to the Oxford City Council’s Local Land Charges Search Fees page, the standard LLC1 form will be exempt from VAT, costing £37. Any additional enquiries will cost £28 each.
The standard CON29R form will cost prospective buyers £133, with additional parcels costing £24 each. This final cost includes VAT. In Oxford, there is also the option of requesting the separate CON29O form which is made up of further enquiries. For Enquiries 4 to 21, the price will be £17 each, whilst for Enquiry 22, the price is set at £42.
£37.00 inc VAT
This includes details of any restrictions or prohibitions on the land/property and any financial charges held against it. It is exempt from VAT.
£133.00 inc VAT
This includes approximately 60 enquiries. It provides vital information such as recent statutory notices, Compulsory Purchase Orders and any building or road proposals that may impact the property.
CON29O Optional Enquiry 22 Only
£42.00 inc VAT
The CON29O is a set of optional additional questions to ask the local authority. This one includes Enquiry 22 only.
CON29O Optional Enquiries 4 to 21
£17.00 inc VAT
The CON29O is a set of optional additional questions to ask the local authority. This price is for each individual enquiry between 4-21.
Environmental Search Standard Enquiry
£82 inc VAT
This report will cover past land uses of the site, a site investigation, information on local landfills, contaminated land and any information relating to the site in general.
What Are the Flood Risks in Oxford?
As the River Thames and the River Cherwell flows directly through Oxford, it is an area that is accustomed to flooding alerts. Areas such as New Botley, North Hinksey Village, Sunnymead and streets such as Norreys Avenue and Sunningwell Road, are particularly subject to flood warnings.
This high risk of flooding highlights how vital it is to have a flood risk report arranged by your conveyancer during the conveyancing process. It will help identify how at risk the property you’re interested in is and will give you an opportunity to research the city’s current defences.
When viewing the Oxfordshire Flood Map, you can see where all the main rivers flow through Oxford and where they also meet up. It’s a very helpful tool for prospective buyers as you can input the address of the property and use the key features to see if the area is within a flood zone or a flood warning area.
Many properties could potentially be affected and ultimately damaged by future flooding, whether it be from the rivers or reservoirs, and so it’s vital you do your research before purchasing the home. For further information, you can even use Friends of the Earth’s Flood Map to uncover which areas of Oxford have been most affected by historic flooding.
Are There Ground Stability Concerns in Oxford?
During the Environmental Search, your conveyancer will also arrange a ground stability report for the land your property is situated on. As a buyer, it’s important to be aware of any ground instability as it could affect the safety and value of the property.
If subsidence should occur, the foundations of a property could misalign forcing the building to possibly sink into the ground. The Environmental Search is vital for buyers as you will be warned about any current or future damage.
Fortunately, Oxford does not seem to have a high risk of subsidence. According to Geobear’s UK Subsidence Map, Oxford is not an area that contains any major risk of subsidence within its properties.
However, many homes across Oxford have been built on clay soil which is one of the most shrinkable soil types. The UK Distribution of Clay Map has labelled Oxford and many of its surrounding areas as a Hazard Level D. This means that the soil will be prone to shrinking and swelling under added pressure or during an extreme change in temperature.
It’s vital that you hire a verified and reliable conveyancer to conduct the necessary conveyancing searches as it’s information like this can save you from a poor investment.
- 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 Oxford?
Another factor that the Environmental Search will uncover, is the level of radon gas within the area. Radon gas is a colourless, odourless and radioactive gas that is formed by the decay of natural uranium in rocks and soils. Although it’s a natural gas that will be found in most locations, it can come with health risks when in extreme amounts.
When looking at the UK Radon Map, you can see that Oxford city does not have high levels of radon. The majority of the area has low levels of radon emissions, with some even seemingly below average. However, it is situated close to a ‘hotspot’ showing signs of extreme levels of emissions.
West Oxfordshire has severely high levels of radon gas, with areas such as Headington, Chipping Norton and Banbury being six times above the recommended levels. Headington resides within Oxford and so if you’re viewing properties within these areas, it would be wise to thoroughly discuss the search results with your conveyancer.
The Health Protection Agency has previously had to work to reduce the level of radon emissions within Oxfordshire to cut the level of exposure to its citizens. This type of radiation has been connected to an increased risk of lung cancer and so it’s vital you remain informed when viewing properties in Oxford and, in particular, West Oxfordshire.
Is Contaminated Land an Issue in Oxford?
Contaminated land is when substances, soil or pollutants are present that can cause potential harm to people, protected species or property. The conveyancing searches should uncover if the property you’re buying is built on or near contaminated land. This is an important factor to highlight as it could affect the value or safety of the property.
Examples of contaminated land include land that has previously been used as a landfill site or for mining. Oxford City Council’s Contaminated Land Register currently states that there are no sites in Oxford that have been classified as contaminated land. However, they do have a thorough Land Quality Strategy to protect and maintain the quality of the area.
If you’re still concerned that the property you’re purchasing may be on or near contaminated land, then you should read through the Environmental Search and Local Authority Search results with your conveyancer. They will provide important information on the historical and current use of land in the area surrounding the property.