This article discusses the relevance and implications of conducting a local land charges search and other enquiries at the pre-completion stage.
A search for local land charges are not usually conducted during the pre completion stage as they reveal the state of the register at the time of issuing the certificate and do not confer a priority period on the buyer. The search is usually completed before the contracts are exchanged. They are necessary only when the completion of the transaction takes place within a short duration of the search result. Local land charges and enquiries are necessary when;
- There is a gap of more than 2 months or more between the exchange of contract and completion, and the search is not protected by insurance,
- A further search is advised to guard against a recently entered entry on the registry, or
- The contract provides for a condition that completion is subject to these searches.
The results of such searches do not have a bearing on the title and the buyer shall not be entitled to raise a requisition about the entry, nor can he refuse to complete the contract (unless of course the contract is subject to the condition mentioned above). The client should be advised by the conveyancing solicitor on such issues so that he understands his position before purchasing the land.
As per clause 5.2.3 of the CML Lender’s Handbook, all searches should not be older than six months after the date of completion. But some conveyancing solicitors do repeat these searches after a period of about two months. Lenders often accept these searches provided there is search insurance to provide indemnity against late entries.
Photo courtesy: Adrian Pink