A body that regulates property searches has criticised some councils for providing “very poor service” which delays transactions.
The Property Codes Compliance Board, the regulator for the Search Code of Practice, says local authorities and private sector search companies routinely provide conveyancers with vital information about properties being purchased through the LLC1 and CON29 search documents.
It says the great majority of local authorities provide a good service but a growing number are “performing woefully” according to Kate Davies, chairman of the PCCB.
“We’re very concerned that the home buying and selling public are being adversely affected by very poor performance by some local authorities and in some cases transactions are breaking down due to the delays” she says.
“If you live in Wiltshire for example, it is an accident of geography if a lawyer can expect to receive searches back in six days or six weeks, and this is totally unacceptable” she insists.
PCCB board member Kate Faulkner - who runs the consumer-focussed online service Propertychecklists and is one of the country’s leading property market analysts - says that with the housing market in a volatile condition “the last thing that prospective homebuyers and sellers need is unnecessary delays for which there is absolutely no excuse.”
She claims personal search companies are being frustrated in their ability to deliver first class service to lawyer clients by a number of local authorities who are taking far longer to provide access to data than other councils.