Author: Joanne Atkin | Mortgage Finance Gazette | March 9, 2015 | www.mortgagefinancegazette.com
A couple purchasing a property in Cumbria has successfully sued their conveyancer because development plans to build a wind farm were not picked up in conveyancing searches.
Searches UK highlights this case as evidence that it is essential for solicitors to purchase all searches necessary to ensure a client has accurate and up to date information before buying a property.
The solicitor carried out what they considered to be ‘normal searches’ on the property; however these searches did not reveal to the purchasers that a wind farm was about to be constructed less than a mile away, and the turbines would be visible from the property.
An investigation found that these development plans were well-known within the local community. Local residents had led a campaign to block the plans, but were unsuccessful. Yet the buyers were not informed of this information by the conveyancer or the seller.
If the couple had known about the wind farm they would have re-considered their offer for the property. Subsequently, they decided to pursue a negligence claim against their conveyancing solicitor.
A court ruled in the couples’ favor, confirming the proposed wind farm clearly had the possibility of impacting on both the future value and the buyers’ enjoyment of their new home. The solicitors were found to be negligent in failing to inform their clients about these plans and as a result the buyers received a substantial compensation settlement.
Package of searches
Considering what searches are ‘essential’ for a property can be a grey area when this decision is at the discretion of the conveyancing solicitor. Searches UK recommends purchasing a package of searches as a standard requirement, which include a local authority search, drainage and water search, environmental search, chancel report and energy & infrastructure report.
The search provider says that purchasing a bundle of conveyancing searches is simple, efficient and cost effective, receiving these searches at a reduced price.
Sales & marketing director Lisa Summerto, commented: “In addition to this, Searches UK’s ordering platform provides recommended searches based on the property address, which flags up searches you may wish to purchase.”