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Graham Awards


Cut The Delays! Conveyancers urged to work with search providers

With many transactions now delayed by up to three weeks by slow searches, a body representing local search providers is urging conveyancers to work with its members as closely as possible to reduce delays.

A statement from the Council of Property Search Organisations says lead times to access data at many local authorities is “increasing by the day” leading to sale hold-ups and fall-throughs.

CoPSO chair James Sherwood-Rogers says: ‘The combination of a hyperactive property market, in part fuelled by the stamp duty holiday, and the hugely difficult circumstances in which local authorities and our members are having to operate, is leading to ever increasing turnaround times for searches in many parts of the country. 


“Our members know where those are, and active engagement with them can help to manage each transaction according to its location. We fully recognise the extreme pressure which conveyancers are operating under, and our members wish to help in any way that they can.”

CoPSO says it’s “engaging constructively” with local authorities across England and Wales where there are now over 90 locations - that’s about 30 per cent of all authorities - where search turnaround times exceed 20 days. 

It says the combination of an overheated market, Covid-19-related working restrictions and resourcing issues are the main contributing factors. 


Where resourcing is an issue, CoPSO has appealed to local authority chief executives to allocate additional resource to the local land charges teams to help alleviate the pressure.

Sherwood-Rogers says: ‘We are all in this together in these extraordinary times and CoPSO and its members are determined to play a full part in supporting homebuyers and their conveyancers by offering the best possible service in the circumstances.”

Poll: Have you noticed search delays growing longer?


  • icon

    Perhaps now is the right time for Estate Agents to start thinking about advising their clients to get the searches "Up Front". If not on day one of marketing then as soon as offers are anticipated. Searches last for 6 months, with many firms offering a refresh service. The cost of the searches can usually be recovered from the buyer.

  • Daniel Hamilton-Charlton

    Property Searches Direct has been championing purchasers to get Searches on day one of a sale being agreed. We now have Conveyancers that refer their clients to our website to get searches underway rather than wait to do it themselves as they realise that it is a quicker solution.
    We are urging Estate Agents to get on board with the messaging to refer their buyers to our site.
    We are happy to white-label a Hazard Checker (the start of the search ordering journey) for agents that wish to help speed things up.


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