Local authority warns that six-week shutdown will affect all searches

A local authority has warned that it will not be providing any local searches for over six weeks this summer. The length of time is thought to be unprecedented and the impact could be far-reaching.

Surrey Heath Council says that it will be changing its database software across a number of services, including local land charges, planning and building control.

The dates affected by the shutdown are from tomorrow, August 1, until September 17.

Agents who have deals going through and expecting to complete before the start of the new school year, are being warned that massive conveyancing delays are likely for home-movers – and not just in that area.

There will also be a big impact for anyone in a chain where there are home-movers in Surrey Heath. So agents be warned!

The delays would seem likely to continue after the middle of September, with the inevitable catch-up of the backlog.

Rob Hailstone, founder and CEO of conveyancing organisation Bold Legal Group, said he has seen nothing like this in the past, although there have been a number of cases where search provision has been impacted by staff illness or departures.

He has written to the council asking if it can offer alternative help or guidance.

Hailstone told EYE: “Search insurance is a possibility [where searches themselves cannot be obtained] but many conveyancers aren’t keen on that. In any case, if the buyer has a mortgage, the lender’s consent will probably need to be obtained too.”

Surrey Heath Council is headquartered in Camberley where Michael Gove is MP.


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  1. J1

    This could put some out of business

    1. Orson67

      It’s only the clowns that work in the public sector that could pull a stunt like this and walk away financially unscathed. Totally incompetent is a kind description of them.

  2. surrey1

    Massive conveyancing delays seem to be the case every day for as long as I can remember and I’m sure it’s taking longer each year.


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