How Much Are Conveyancing Searches in St Albans?
Conveyancing searches are a vital part of the conveyancing process, especially for buyers applying for a mortgage. Some of these searches include the Local Authority Search, an Environmental Search and a Water and Drainage Search. These will all be arranged by your conveyancer and will reveal any legal or environmental issues connected to the property you’re interested in and the surrounding land.
One of the main conveyancing searches will be the Local Authority Search which is compulsory if you require a mortgage to purchase the home. The search will be made up of two parts, the LLC1 form and the CON29 form. According to St Albans City and District Council, the cost of a full Local Authority Search is £100, which is fairly cheaper than some surrounding cities.
If you require the LLC1 form alone, the cost will decrease to £15 whilst the CON29 form costs £85. There will be additional administration charges of around £10 per document should you require copies. You will also have the option of exploring the CON29O form which is made up of numerous sections. For questions 4-20 the price is £9 each, whilst Q21 is priced at £3 and Q22 at £16.80. Your conveyancer will be responsible for organising these searches and they should go through the results with you when possible.
£15 inc VAT
The LLC1 form shows you any information in the Local Land Charges register. It will find specific charges which apply to a piece of land. These include finance charges, planning charges, Tree Preservation Orders and Land Charges made due to a previous breach of planning rules on the site.
£85 inc VAT
The CON29 form shows you general information about a piece of land. This includes highways, planning history and notices (such as an enforcement notice) that affect the property. You can request either of these forms individually.
Full Official Search Con29 and LLC1
£100 inc VAT
This will contain both the Official compiled LLC1 report and the Official compiled CON29R.
What are the Flood Risks in St Albans?
As part of the Environmental Search, your conveyancer should also uncover whether there is any risk of flooding in the local area. To discover this, your conveyancer will likely order a Flood Risk Indicator report from the Land Registry. There will also be useful information on the St Albans City and District Council website, should you wish to do some research yourself.
Properties within close proximity of the River Ver are often prone to flood alerts. If you’re purchasing a home in streets such as Fishpool Street and St Michael's Street, then this search will be essential to your buying process. We also discovered small areas within St Albans are prone to flooding due to surface water, so it’s advised you research the local drainage system to see if any problems have occurred.
According to the UK Flood Risk Map, the biggest influence that causes flooding in St Albans is the River Ver. Whilst the overall risk of flooding in the city is fairly low, properties close to the river have an increased risk, with a 3.3% chance of flooding each year. However, the local council has a Local Emergencies webpage with incredibly helpful information and contact details, should you ever encounter flooding of any sort.
If you’re still concerned about the risk of flooding, it would be wise to discuss the search results with your conveyancer in further detail. They will explain everything simply and clearly to ensure you’re fully informed before committing to the transaction.
Are There Ground Stability Concerns in St Albans?
As part of the Local Authority Search, your conveyancer should organise a ground stability search which will uncover issues such as subsidence, the risk of landslides and whether the property is located near a mining area. This can be a crucial search for buyers in St Albans as there have been problems with ground stability previously reported amongst homeowners. An example of this would be a home situated in Lime Street Court that was reported to be within close proximity to natural cavities, increasing the risk of subsidence.
Subsidence is often a dreaded term for homeowners as it can cause immense damage to a property, structurally affecting the foundations. As St Albans is located somewhat close to London, it has a low to medium risk of subsidence, depending on your specific destination. Subsidence often occurs in densely-packed urban areas as the added pressure can weaken and dry out the soil beneath the buildings, causing it to shrink and compact.
Another factor that can increase the risk of subsidence is the presence of clay soil. Clay soil can easily shrink and swell from added pressure or a sudden change in temperature, increasing the possibility of the ground becoming unstable. Again, due to its proximity to London, St Albans will have a slight risk of clay soil being below the properties. However, it does not seem to be a major concern.
- 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 St Albans?
As it’s a natural gas, radon is present throughout the UK with some areas more at risk of experiencing higher emissions than others. Part of the conveyancing searches will include discovering whether the property is situated within or near a raised radon area. Although odourless and colourless, high levels of radon gas can lead to health issues.
When looking at the UK Radon Map, you can see that the centre of St Albans does not appear to have high levels of radon gas - in fact, it has a maximum radon potential of less than 1%. However, the further west you travel, the higher the emissions begin to rise. Locations closer to Hemel Hempstead have a maximum radon potential of 1-3%. Although this is higher than some areas in St Albans, they are still fairly average readings.
Average levels of radon gas are usually no cause for concern. However, higher levels can affect your health over long periods of time and can even increase the risk of lung cancer. Once the searches have been completed, your conveyancer should be able to inform you of any threat present.
Is Contaminated Land an Issue in St Albans?
Contaminated land typically contains some sort of substance or pollution that can cause significant harm to people or the local environment. An example of this would be land once used for mining, as a factory or even a previous landfill site. Most areas within the UK will have some sort of contaminated land that originates from the industrial revolution as it was a period of time known for its booming industries.
According to the local council’s Contaminated Land Register, there was one example of contaminated land recorded in St Albans in August 2002. The contaminated land was found in Sandridge, Herts and has since been successfully remedied. No other examples have been listed on this version of the register, so it’s vital you review the results of the Environmental Search to be completely sure.
Should you be interested, the St Albans City and District Council does have a Contaminated Land Strategy available online which explains the steps involved in remedying any contamination found. Your conveyancer will organise the relevant searches required to highlight any contaminated land in the local area, so if you’re unsure, it’s advised you speak to them when possible.