It will be easier to get LLC Searches: A ‘Must Have’ in Property Sales

November 4th, 2021

“Local Land Charge searches are necessary so that you can find out if there are any issues you need to be aware of before you take ownership of your new home.”

“They are also required by lenders, who will want to be certain that there’s nothing which could affect the property’s value before they offer you a mortgage.”

“The solicitors will be keen on getting LLC searches before they proceed with the purchase of the property on their clients’ behalf.”

Every local authority in England and Wales, with the exception of county councils, is required to hold a local land charges register that records obligations affecting properties within their administrative area. Under the Infrastructure Act 2015 responsibility for the 331 registers was transferred to HM Land Registry in a phased approach. The first transfer was in summer 2018.

This was a historic step forward in the Government’s ambition to make the homebuying process simpler, faster and cheaper which can sometimes be painful as it may take 4-8 weeks to receive them in some areas.

Working in partnership with local authorities across England and Wales, HM Land Registry is migrating their local land charges data to a central, digital register.

Six local authorities joined the LLC Register in October 2021, the highest number to have joined in a single month. It is now possible to receive LLC searches from HM Land Registry for the local authority area of:

  • Bromsgrove District Council
  • Redditch Borough Council
  • Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Newark and Sherwood District Council
  • Hambleton District Council
  • Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

HM Land Registry is working in partnership with local authorities in England and Wales to standardise and migrate local land charges register information to one accessible place. Once migrated, it is possible for anybody to receive instant online search results using the ‘Search for Local Land Chargers’ service.

Each search result provides details of entries on the Local Land Charges Register relating to the land or property concerned.

Local authorities will continue to provide replies to CON29 enquiries, such as nearby road schemes or outstanding notices, which may affect a purchaser’s decision whether to proceed. Once a local authority’s local land charges data has been migrated to HM Land Registry, you will no longer be able to get local land charge search results from that local authority.

Using this new service, you/your solicitor will have the option of downloading a personal search for free or an official search for £15. Alternatively, you/your solicitor can use a search provider who will access the Local Land Charges service for you.

Land registration fees increase

From 31 January 2022, Land registration fees are set to increase for the first time since 2009, affecting applications for first registration and for the registration of transfers, leases and mortgages of property (scales one and two).

The majority of affected applications (submitted electronically) will see an increase of 11 per cent, and those submitted by post are to see an increase of 21 per cent.

Additionally, minor changes to fees and exemptions have been confirmed, these are:

  • Including a specific reference to the fee for applications for an entry relating to Right to Manage companies under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002. This is to make this clearer, as there is no change in the fee.
  • Change in fees for obtaining historical copies of the register, so they align with the fees for official copies of the register.
  • A new exemption for requests to note disclaimers of properties made by liquidators, the Treasury Solicitor, and trustees in bankruptcy.

Migrating six local authorities in one month is a significant achievement and really shows how the LLC programme is gathering pace.

These most recent migrations mean that people buying property in these areas will now have access to instant LLC search results.

We are working hard with local authorities across England and Wales to ensure property buyers can obtain the information they need quickly, making the conveyancing process simpler for everyone.

Mark Kelso Local Land Charges Programme Director | HM Land Registry

I hope this post is useful to you. Please do let me know if you have anything to add, and I will gladly consider it and add to the article if it helps my readers and don’t forget, if you need further advice/assistance or would like to reach out you can find my contact details below. 

Josephine – Your Trusted London Property Partner

Tel    : +44 (0) 7491 430055