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One-day Local Authority Searches

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 22-Jan-08 11:30:46 AM

PC developed a nasty whining sound back-end of last week; hence missed this on Friday.

In a bid to ensure personal searches conducted through Local Authorities (LAs) are transacted within (at worst) 3 working days - at best, one day - the CLG have published a Good practice guidance for local authorities and personal searchers.

Having briefly read it, I'm not sure there's actually anything new to learn - It seems to serve more as a reminder of the obligations LAs have to personal searchers, including the Competition Act 1998:

Attention is drawn for the need for local authorities to ensure that they fully comply with the Competition Act. In particular they will need to ensure that competition is not prevented, restricted or distorted (Chapter I, Part1) and should be aware of the provisions of the Act regarding the abuse of a dominant market position (Chapter 2 Part 1).


Also, if you're intending to compile HIPs yourselves, you should be sure you know what you are looking at, and for:

Personal searchers should be prepared and competent to carry out a search and inspection of local authority records, without assistance from local authority staff.

While local authority staff can provide access to the relevant records, it is the responsibility of the person carrying out the search to identify and record the relevant information from those records. The Home Information Pack (No 2) Regulations 2007 require that any person completing a search report must do so with ‘reasonable care and skill’.

Local authority staff may offer factual clarification of what is in the record open to public inspection but are under no obligation to answer any supplementary or additional enquiries when a personal search is made.

Charges for Property Search Services - Another consultation

I suspect the real shakedown for LA property searches, however, will come from the results derived from (yet another) consultation document... all 244 pages of it!

This consultation document seeks views on proposals for the future direction of Local Authority charging for property search services and related draft guidance. It progresses one of the key recommendations by the OFT in its market study of property search services.

Charges for Property Search Services - A consultation paper - Housing - Communities and Local Government

You guessed it, I haven't read it. Don't know if I'll get round to reading all of it either TBH. But judging by some of the headings in the document, some of it, at least, might be interesting to those of you seeking to enter the HIP provision market - One of the headings is: 'Background: How property searches are currently conducted'

KPMG have been commissioned to come up with recommendations on the future direction of LA searches which - upon a very quick scan - seems to suggest a possible two-tier approach (and charge?): refined; and unrefined.

That's as much as I'll venture - suffer it yourself!

And if you fancy writing a review for the blog, let me know.

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