In simple terms, a search is an investigation to reveal any restriction or prohibition on a specific property or parcel of land.
The most important fact is that any such Local Land Charges are binding on successive owners or occupiers.
Every Local Authority maintains a statutory Local Land Charges Register. Some examples of Local Land Charges held on the Registers are:
Tree Preservation Orders
Public Health notices
Any other document containing local authority imposed conditions or restrictions.
A Local Land Charges search reveals this information, plus that held by other sections within the Local Authority including Planning, Building Control, Environmental Health and Highways (based at West Sussex County Council).
A Local Authority search is your assurance that there are no outstanding issues or restrictions that may affect the property that you are buying or your subsequent use and enjoyment of that property.
For example, how would you feel if you found out after you moved in to your dream home that the previous owner's beautiful extension does not fully comply with planning and building regulations? Or that your home is in a Conservation Area that limits your potential plans? A Local Land Charges search reveals such potential issues.
Your solicitor can also request additional questions for your peace of mind. For example your solicitor can enquire as to whether new housing developments are due to be built in the near vicinity, or whether your neighbours have pending planning applications that could affect your property.
Ensure you ask them to make these specific enquiries when they submit your Local Authority Search.