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Let’s work together: Call for councils and search firms to cut virus risks

A trade group wants councils and search companies to co-operate more closely during the virus to minimise delays to the remaining buyers and sellers pushing through deals.

The Council of Property Search Organisations, the trade body for the property search industry, says it should be possible to have closer co-operation and thus reduce what it calls “unnecessary travel and visits to local councils.” 

CoPSO has asked for early warning in respect of any constraints that Coronavirus may have on local authorities in the delivery of searches, so that the information can be disseminated to its members, lawyers, home movers and agents.

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This will help all parties produce more realistic timeframes for the delivery of searches on an area by area basis. 

CoPSO chairman James Sherwood-Rogers says: “With over 80 per cent of the searches in the UK being ordered through one of our members, we think it makes sense to work together with the public sector in a constructive and positive way to help homebuyers and their lawyers progress transactions as efficiently as possible. 

“By creating an information sharing arrangement with local authorities our members can help by managing expectations, and, for example, ensure that urgent transactions get prioritised.”

CoPSO says it’s also working with HM Land Registry and other stakeholders, to see what else can be done to minimise current health risks in the provision of data and searches. This includes, wherever possible, councils providing information by email rather than requiring information to be collected in person.

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