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Commercial Property Searches – Why are they Important?

Posted on September 26th 2023

Ahead of buying or taking a lease of any commercial property or land, it is important that a buyer/tenant is fully aware of any matters that may adversely affect their investment, so they can make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed or to continue at the price/rent agreed initially.

The process of due diligence commonly includes undertaking a range of different searches. The seller will not necessarily be responsible for rectifying any issues identified in the search results, so it’s important to be aware of any such matters before proceeding.

A few examples of core searches that you may wish to consider before deciding whether to purchase or take a lease of commercial property/land are discussed below:

1. Local Authority and Local Land Charges Searches

These will provide important information that relate specifically to the property or about the property’s local area, and can include information in relation to planning obligations and enforcement notices, as well as financial charges recoverable by the Local Authority.

The searches can also reveal whether there may be other obligations that a property owner/occupier may have to comply with, such as Tree Preservation Orders or confirm whether the Property is a listed building or situated within a Conservation Area, which are important factors to consider if a buyer or tenant is wishing to develop a property.

The search results can also reveal insightful information about historic planning and building regulations consents that have or have not been given, proposals for nearby transport schemes or third party interests, such as public rights of way.

2. Drainage and Water Search

This search will provide important information about water and drainage services at the property, such as identifying whether it is connected to a mains water supply and mains drainage, and if connected, who provides the water and drainage services to the property. The search results are also useful for ascertaining the location of adopted drains and sewers in proximity to a property, and what, if any additional charges are payable for water and drainage services. These are especially important considerations when assessing regular outgoings for the property or any future development plans that a buyer or tenant may have for the property.

3. Environmental Searches

An environmental report will establish potential risks that relate to a property such as, the risk of it being designated as contaminated land. If land is contaminated, and the party who caused or knowingly permitted the contamination cannot be found, the current owner or occupier of the land may be required to remedy the contamination at their own expense. Being aware of such a risk before becoming the owner/occupier of the Property is incredibly important as it could help to avoid you incurring significant costs for the removal of the contamination.

An environmental search can also reveal the risk of the property or land being:
• affected by any of the different categories of flooding;
• impacted by works, machinery or licences in relation to the generation of renewable energy and the exploration of other energy sources (fracking);
• in a Radon affected area;
• in close proximity to existing or proposed railways lines.

Information from searches form an important part of the decision making process regarding purchasing or leasing of commercial property or land.

If you are currently looking to purchase or lease commercial property or land and would like expert advice, call our experienced commercial property team today on 01244 312306 and we will be happy to advise and assist you.

Call and speak to a member of our team on 01244 312306