Local Authority search and taking out indemnity insurance

A local authority search before taking indemnity insurance is an easy way for homebuyers to check any defects in the title of the property they wish to buy. Normally, the local authority search is carried out by the solicitor overseeing the sale of the property; as well as revealing any future problems with the property the solicitor can also tell if a local authority has already contacted previous homeowners about a defect, which would make any indemnity insurance policy void. When a local authority search is conducted by a company and not the local authority itself it's considered a "personal search", whereas "official searches" are carried out by trained professionals working for a local authority.

If you need a local authority search and indemnity insurance seems like a good financial protection for you before purchasing a home, speak to your solicitor and try to opt for a personal search. If an official search is carried out some indemnity insurers will see this as a form of contact with a local authority, which will make any indemnity policy invalid.

What Can a Local Authority Search Reveal?

A local authority search for indemnity insurance can reveal any kind of defect in the title, including instances which aren't covered by indemnity insurance. It could reveal if the property:

  • Had alterations or building work carried out without planning permission or building regulations.
  • Is liable for chancel repair charges.
  • Has any defects in the ownership, i.e. posessory title as opposed to actual title of the property deeds.
  • Had replacement windows which are not covered by a FENSA certificate.

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