PCCB expresses concern at woeful performance by some Local Authorities

Local authorities causing delays to property sales and purchases

The Property Codes Compliance Board (PCCB), the regulator for the Search Code of Practice, today took the unusual step of publicly stating its concern at the very poor service being provided by some local authorities, which is causing delays to property transactions.  Delays in the conveyancing process are the second greatest reason for transaction failure, and poor performance by some local authorities are contributing to delays.

Local authorities and private sector search companies routinely provide conveyancers with vital information about properties that are being purchased in the form of documents known as the LLC1 and the CON29. These documents are known as searches. Whilst the great majority of local authorities provide a good service to both regulated personal search companies and to the lawyers they serve directly, there have been a growing number that are performing woefully.

Kate Davies, Chairman of the PCCB said ‘we are 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. If you live in Wiltshire for example, it is an accident of geography if a lawyer can expect to receive searches back in 6 days or 6 weeks, and this is totally unacceptable. If Local Authorities are unable to produce their own LLC1 and CON29 in a few days, they should at the minimum allow regulated personal search companies immediate access to their data so that delays are eliminated from the process. ‘

Kate Faulkner from Propertychecklists.co.uk, who is also a PCCB Board member said ‘with the property market in its current state of uncertainty, the last thing that prospective homebuyers and sellers need is unnecessary delays for which there is absolutely no excuse. Regulated Personal Search Companies are being frustrated in their ability to deliver first class service to their lawyer clients by a number of local authorities who are taking far longer to provide access to data than their colleagues in other authorities. Buying and selling homes is stressful enough without local authorities not taking seriously the vital need to provide information quickly.’