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'Why are searches taking 17 weeks?' estate agent asks MP

An estate agent has blasted his local council for "unacceptable" delays that mean searches can take up to 17 weeks.

Mark Parker, director of Parker's agency in Dorset, has written to his local MP, Sir Oliver Letwin, in disgust at the time West Dorset district council takes on searches.

The Dorset Echo - which reported the 17 week delay a year ago - now says the letter from Parker indicates the situation has not improved.


In his letter, the agent has described the current situation as "the worst in the country" leading to "deepest concerns" that mean sales have been collapsing.

He adds that his local situation appears "preposterous" compared to other local authorities which turn around searches in two weeks.

Parker told the Tory MP: "Locally and nationally, the reputation of the local authority and your party deteriorates and constant questions are raised about the efficiency, ability and motivation of those in a position to address the issue."

He goes on: "Aside from your reputation, concerns for the district council and your own party, the problem is directly and significantly affecting the people living and working in your constituency."

Parker concludes: "This is an issue of absurd scale presenting undue stress to buyers, sellers, legal firms, estate agents and council workers alike. As a local authority, charging one of the higher premiums for the search service, I feel that to a large extent the service should be self-funded and appropriately staffed."

Estate Agent Today has left messages with Sir Oliver Letwin and with the district council over the weekend.

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    17 weeks for searches?


    It is 4 months to get searches back??

    That must be a one off or a solicitor not applying in a timely manner, surely?

    If it really is 4 months to receive searches back then you have my utmost sympathy.


    it really is that long, having worked in the area last year its crazy and there is no sign of it improving.WDDC need to pull their finger out


    I can well believe it "Smile". At one of our "Guild of Professional Estate Agents" regional meetings (South West) a few weeks back, several agents expressed the same problems. The situation is totally unacceptable and the Government needs to address the situation nationwide. With the technology that is available these days, there is no excuse... and while they are at it, they ought to look at the whole process to see how matters can be expidited. It's no understatement to say that many spin off repercussions to consumers and the economy are affected!

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    RIDICULOUS - RIDICULOUS - RIDICULOUS - but I can believe it!!!

    I own both both an estate agency and a search company in the north west of England. Although my search company has had trouble in the past with certain councils in the area I have thrown the book at the councils and explained to the head of department that they are unable to impose any restrictions.

    If the conveyancer is using a search company, then "in my eyes" its up to the search company to talk to the council and explain what they are obliged to do, if the conveyancer is using the council for its searches then more fool them for waiting 17 weeks, any search company can get all of the information within 20 working days at most if they know what they are doing!!

    If its taking 17 weeks to have searches done then why isn't the conveyancer having "no search insurance"? This to me would be the last resort, however, in the land of the weak this would certainly speed the process up.

    FYI - All of the search information is available under EIR (environmental information regulations) and can be viewed within 20 working days (MAX), if the searches are being forced to be viewed under EIR yet the search agent is still unsuccessful, then you have a case to complain to the ICO (information commissioners office) and the commissioner will force the EIR.

    Good luck!


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