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Sat 31 Aug 2019

Delays with Camden Local Authority Searches stalling property transactions

A local land charge is a restriction on a property that can limit its use or be binding on property owners. A Local Land Charge Search is carried out as part of the Local Authority Search by your conveyancer when buying a property. It provides prospective buyers with information about the property, such as conservation area and listed buildings, conditional planning permissions, tree preservation orders, financial or miscellaneous charges and light obstruction notices.

Camden Council’s Local Land Charges Department currently have a backlog of searches which has arisen as a result of staff shortages. The Council are seeking to rectify the backlog issue as quickly as possible and turn around searches swiftly, however, the current turnaround time is being quoted as a minimum of 10 weeks. Currently the Council are returning fewer than 10 search results per week; some of these searches were ordered in May with searches typically being returned in date order. We have today been informed that July applications will not be returned before early November.

JPC’s search providers are liaising closely with the Council’s Land Charges Manager to ensure that we get the best service we can from their limited team. Some urgent overdue search applications are being prioritised although the estimated return dates remain subject to change.

Timescales for conveyancing transactions can largely depend on the circumstances. The national average from instruction to completion is usually around 10-12 weeks with exchange of contracts typically achieved within 6-8 weeks. However, delays in receiving property search results will affect these timescales.

If you are considering transacting within the borough and this gives you cause for concern please do not hesitate to contact our residential conveyancing team for assistance.

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