Local Authority Suspends Searches For Entire Summer Period

A local authority has failed to implement a contingency plan allowing a facility to provide local searches for a period of six-weeks.

Surrey Heath Council has claimed that it is upgrading and adapting the database software it uses. Unfortunately, this software provides information on local land charges, building controls and planning issues.

The announcement also claims that as the migration takes place, the local authority will be unable to accept any requests between 1st August 2019 and 17th September 2019.

The disruption is set to cause severe delays to home purchases during the summer period. It also draws a stark contrast between public and private sector approaches with many suggesting more accountability and regulation is needed to ensure local authorities fulfil their promises by providing a consistent and reliable service.

Surrey Heath Borough Council announced:

“Please note: From the beginning of August 2019 until mid-September 2019 the Council will be changing its database software across a number of services including Local Land Charges, Planning and Building Control.

“As a result, it will not be possible for the Authority to accept any Local Land Charges Search requests between 1st August 2019 and 17th September 2019.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Rob Hailstone, CEO of Bold Legal Group, commented:

“Search insurance is a possibility [where searches themselves cannot be obtained] but many conveyancers aren’t keen on that. In any case, if the buyer has a mortgage, the lender’s consent will probably need to be obtained too.”

How disruptive will this suspension of service be for home transactions during this time?

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