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Six councils in East Sussex have signed up to an electronic local land charges search service aimed speed up proper...
Six councils in East Sussex have signed up to an electronic local land charges search service aimed speed up property transactions for home movers.

When someone buys or sells a property, one of the processes they have to complete is a local land charges search from the records held by the local council.

Brighton & Hove Council, Eastbourne BC, Hastings BC, Lewes DC, Rother DC and Wealden DC are now electronically connected to the National Land Information Service, which enables them to reduce the time it takes to process searches. Using NLIS, the average turnaround time for searches is four days.

This move will help businesses and home movers get ready for the introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPs). From June, all home sellers will have to produce an HIP before putting their property on the market. Local Land Charges searches, which let buyers know about the planning history as well as any restrictions such as Planning Agreements and Tree Preservation Orders that affect their new property, will form an essential part of HIPs.

Lesley Webster, Head of Wynne Baxter, Residential Property Department said: 'We have found that submitting searches to councils electronically through NLIS has made the whole process faster and more efficient. If we are to meet our customers' demands we need to receive local authority searches quickly and electronically. We will not be able to wait for searches to be delivered and returned by post.'

Rother DC senior local land charges officer Stephen Adams said:

'HIPs are going to completely transform the conveyancing process. Six councils working together in East Sussex are going to help local estate agents and solicitors ensure that their businesses are in the best position to prosper in the new conveyancing environment. The turnaround time of our official local authority searches meets the need of local home movers for quality information and the prompt marketing of properties.'

Housing, planning & environment

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