Call us today 0800 470 0331

The Importance of Obtaining Searches

Published on 17 September 2021 | Modified on 14 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett

Part of the process of buying or leasing a premises suitable for you and your business is obtaining searches. So what are these and why are they needed?

Searches are enquiries of various public authorities and search providers and the information revealed by the search results will assist you in making a decision whether to proceed with your intended transaction. Often, an inspection of a property or site will not give you a complete picture. A property could seem very appealing but could have restrictions on its use contained within planning consents and this could ultimately affect both its value and potential use.


The most common searches when buying a premises are:-

Local Authority Search

This reveals important information such as planning permissions, building regulations consents, proposals for road schemes, environmental and pollution notices and notices under the Planning Acts such as enforcement notices and/or notices relating to defective premises. It reveals whether any part of the property is registered as common land or as a town or village green. This is significant. The land may be subject to third party rights and the owner’s ability to use or develop the land may be restricted. It also reveals whether the surrounding roads are publicly adopted or private.

Water & Drainage Search

This shows whether the property is connected to the mains water supply and mains drainage. It may also show the location of public sewers within the boundaries of a property and other matters that may restrict development.

Environmental search

If a local authority determines that land is contaminated and the party who caused the contamination cannot be found, the current owner or occupier of the land may be required to remedy the contamination. This can be an expensive process. It is important then to assess the risk of land being contaminated before committing to a purchase or long lease. An environmental data search can be used to establish the risk of land being contaminated by collating information from regulatory bodies, flood plain data and a review of current and historic land uses.  It is in effect a “desktop search”.  An environmental data search does not include a site visit or testing of soil or ground water samples.

Combined Coal Mining & Brine Search

This provides details of past, present and future coal mining activity at a property. It also indicates if there are mine shafts on or near a property and whether any mining activity may cause subsidence. It provides details of past brine extraction in the locality which might affect ground stability or cause subsidence. This is important if you intend to develop the site.


This will reveal the extent of a public maintained highway so that it can be established whether there are adequate rights to access the land/property. It could also reveal ransom strips which could potentially affect value and development potential.

A full package of searches are available in addition to the above.

 If you are using finance to fund your purchase or lease, then the finance company will require satisfactory up to date searches to be obtained before the funds can be released.

Buying or leasing a property can be expensive but carrying out searches before you commit to the transaction could potentially save you thousands of pounds by revealing important matters which would otherwise affect your decision to proceed.

For more information on buying, selling or leasing premises, please visit the following websites:-

If you are buying or leasing a premises and need a solicitor, give us a call on 01270 625478 or click here. Our commercial team will be more than happy to help you through the process.

Related Insights

Sign up to our newsletter

apply area-criminal area-divorce area-employment area-home area-motoring area-personal arrow_downarrow-left-long arrow_leftarrow-right-long-menu arrow-right-long arrow-right asbestos-claimsbenefits-health benefits-incentive £ benefits-nursery benefits-pension blueprintbottom-wave-180 bottom-wave buildingsbusiness-services calendarcertificationcharitychat checklist clockcommercial-propertyconvey_icon_purchase_standardconvey_icon_remortgageconvey_icon_sale_purchase convey_icon_sale conveyancingcriminal-defencecrossdefencedisputesdivorce-family divorce documentsdownloaddrink-drivingeducationemail-altemail-outlineemail employmentevent-calendarfixed-fee-divorcefor-salegravelheartbeathero-wave home-searchhospitalhousehricon_laptop_add icon_purchase_standard icon_quill icon_tick icon-feather-mail icon-user input-error input-upload input-valid job-descriptionlegal-aidlitigationmap-marker map-pinmoneypersonal-injurypersonal-services phone-primary phone play pluspropertyremortgagesearch-primary searchseparationsocial-facebook social_googleplussocial_instagramsocial_linkedin_altsocial-linkedin social_pinterestlogo-twitter-glyph-32social_youtubesoldtenanttick_circle_green tick-white ticktoggle-cross traffic-accidenttreetriangle will-probatewillwrite-a-will