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Search before you sign – the results may reshape your commercial property deal

05th April 2018

If you are thinking of buying or renting commercial property your solicitor is likely to recommend you undertake a series of searches through official records before you commit to a purchase or a tenancy. These searches are important as they will throw light on a range of matters including environmental issues and aspects of the property’s planning history that a review of legal title may not reveal.

It is always a good idea for buyers and tenants to conduct thorough searches to ensure they are fully informed before entering into any property transaction, and these searches can involve looking into local authority and land charges, water and drainage arrangements, environmental matters, and local highways and planning applications.

At the very least, you should always undertake a local authority search as it is important to ensure there are no obvious issues that could otherwise easily be overlooked. Searches conducted through the relevant local authority will reveal the planning history of the property, public highways, footpaths, tree preservation orders and any outstanding planning liabilities. Your solicitor will also scrutinise any planning or enforcement issues, road schemes or compulsory purchase orders that could potentially have an impact on your prospective property or affect the way you intend to use it.

Because there is a cost involved, to search or not to search is a matter for clients to decide; as a prospective buyer or commercial tenant the choice is yours, unless the decision is dictated by your lender or finance provider.

But beware – some search categories have a finite shelf-life and so it is unwise to rely on past results obtained, for example, by the original purchaser. It is also important to understand clearly the parameters of the searches you commission. Because they will not investigate beyond the immediate boundaries of the property under scrutiny they cannot be expected to reveal matters that may potentially affect your property’s immediate surroundings such as neighbouring building developments that could potentially restrict your light, view or privacy. If you are particularly concerned about neighbourhood issues, you may feel it is worth incurring the extra cost of one or more additional search to provide a wider all-round picture.

For in-depth information about commercial property law and specialist advice to help with the full range of commercial property transactions, contact the George Ide team on 01243 786668 or email us at info@georgeide.co.uk.

Aimee Ellery. Solicitor, commercial property department

Business, Commercial Property, General, George Ide, News, Residential Property Conveyancing
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