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Major update to Stratford local land charges will speed up process for buyers

Published: 4th June 2021
Area: Real Estate & Planning

A major digital transformation project by HM Land Registry will see the time needed for local land charges (LLC) for properties in Stratford-Upon-Avon council slashed to just seconds, marking a significant change for homebuyers and residential conveyancers operating in the area.

Typically taking between two to six weeks, waiting for LLC searches is a significant proportion for the time needed to purchase a property and can see buyers finding out critical planning information or other restrictions that may alter their decision to proceed, weeks into the process. The new system digitises historic searches back to 1977 providing instant access for lawyers and the public - speeding up the process and creating cost savings.

What does this mean for home buyers?

Now found online, buyers and solicitors can purchase instant access to local land charges search results for a standardised £15 fee.  The search results reveal; planning and building regulation information and records such as tree preservation orders that are already registered in Land Registry. The reduction in price of this search function saves money as well as time for house buyers.

What about for conveyancers?

Tom Ansell - head of residential conveyancing at Stratford-Upon-Avon-based law firm Shakespeare Martineau - was involved in the initial focus groups that helped shape the product, he said: “Instant access to local search information is a massive step forward in the UK property sector, having access from the very start of instruction, whether that be for the buyer or seller, means that conveyancers can view the information from day one; pre-empting information requests from buyers and enabling solicitors on both sides to obtain upfront information about the property.

“Planning information also has an impact on mortgage applications; having access to local and charges data at the decision in principle stage gives greater certainty to mortgage lenders and buyers. Full transparency also prevents the transaction from collapsing down the line, when sellers and buyers have already incurred costs. This is a really exciting and transformative development and I expect we’ll see huge benefits from it, and quickly.”

The stamp duty holiday has seen a surge in residential transactions in the last year, however with the need for social distancing, fewer people are able to work in offices and the requirement to access traditional paper-based planning information has caused delays to house purchases in some local authorities. The 24/7 remote access to LLC search results that this transformation provides has added resilience to the local housing market at a crucial time.

To date, HM Land Registry has migrated more than half a million records, with more local authorities across the UK signing up for the scheme that will ultimately benefit UK PLC thanks to increased market movement, and efficiency savings.

We’re here to help

Shakespeare Martineau currently has five star rating on Feefo for private client services. Our dedicated residential conveyancing team is here to help and make the journey as straightforward as possible. For guidance and support contact Tom Ansell or complete our 'contact us' form and a member of our team will call you back to discuss your enquiry.

Our updated guide to recovery and resilience covers everything you need to navigate your way out of lockdown, unlock your potential and make way for a brighter future. Further advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.

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