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.”