What is a Local Land Charge?
The council or central government can demand payment from successive owners or occupiers of property or land. This may include outstanding money given to the previous owner in the form of a grant which has not been fully repaid and is still owed to the council which a new owner or tenant would become liable for. There may also be limits on the use of property or land, e.g., Trees which are to be preserved and cannot therefore, be cut down or even pruned. The charges cover a wide variety of financial liabilities and/or restrictions.
The Local Land Charges Register
Details of any charges that are registered on land and/or property in Southampton are listed in the Council's Local Land Charges Register. You will also find other important information such as listed buildings and conservation areas in the register.Our Local Land Charges Register is held in electronic format which we have a statutory duty to maintain and update.
What is a Local Land Charges Search?
As part of the conveyancing process it is important to do a ‘Land Charges Search’. Generally a solicitor carries out the search on your behalf as part of the conveyancing process, but it is possible for you to carry out your own search. The search includes details held in the Local Land Charges Register but can also include a search of other local government records relating to planning, the environment and rights of way etc.
If you are planning to buy a house or plot of land, or lease a property, you will need to know if the authority will charge you for any outstanding or on-going services. A full search will give you important information. It will let you know of any charges or responsibilities you will be taking on when you exchange contracts. For example, the council looks after some footpaths at public expense; but others may be the responsibility of the owners or leaseholders. You will want to know about any restrictions or preservation orders on the property. It will give you information about any planning applications that may affect the property in the future. For example, if any new roads are being proposed close to your property.
The Local Land Search also gives other important information. For example if the property has been improved with the help of a local authority grant. This would affect you if you wanted to sell or rent out the property.