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Property searches when buying a house or business

About property searches

If you're buying a property or a business, your advocate might recommend a property search. 

There are a number of different types of property searches that might find out about any issues that exist at the premises you're thinking of buying, eg any problems to do with noise, radon, the drinking water supply, contaminated land, missing planning permissions or fire safety. 

Anything that comes out of a property search might affect your decision to buy the property or affect the price you're prepared to pay for the premises. 

You can find out more about each type of property search below, and which States department can provide you with it. 

Planning and building permissions


​This property search mainly focuses on whether the correct planning and building permissions have been granted for the property. An example of this would be finding out if the property had planning permission for a recent extension. 

The search will also contain details of any outstanding compliance issues, if there’s any development in the surrounding area, if the property is a listed building, and what was there previously

​Who can apply ​Anyone (although it's mostly used by ​lawyers acting on behalf of a client buying or selling a property)
​Cost​ £160.34 (this will go up annually)
​How to apply

​Fill out the form and send it to the Planning Department.

Planning property search application form
​Turnaround time​10 working days after we've received the completed form, correct payment and a location plan

Fire safety and petroleum


This property search checks whether a property falls within the confines of any fire safety or licencing legislation, details of any reports and inspections, and whether there are any outstanding requirements relating to fire safety. 

It also provides information on any existing or historical petroleum installations or overground / underground storage tanks of petroleum spirit
​Who can apply​Lawyers acting on behalf of a client buying or selling a property 
​Cost£111 per property
​How to apply Email Fire and Rescue Service
​Turnaround time10 days

Water pollution risks

​About​This property search checks for a variety of data including, locations of streams, wells, springs and boreholes.  Information on the risk of pesticides and manure can also be obtained
​Who can apply​Anyone can obtain this information via the on-line water pollution risk map
​Cost​There is no fee for using the on-line risk map
​How to use​There are a number of layers on the map that can be switched on or off depending on the type of information you would like to view
View the mapView water pollution risk map

Drains and sewerage


This property search checks for the connection of properties to the main drains system and whether there are any drainage faults that need to be fixed.

The search also checks for properties on private drainage systems, ie tight tanks or septic tank systems 

​Who can apply ​Lawyers acting on behalf of a client buying or selling a property
​£107.63 if requested within 3 days of completion
​How to applyYou can phone +44 (0) 1534 448217 / 448554, or email DFI drainage
​Turnaround timeFive working days 

Environmental health


​This property search checks if there are any outstanding legal notices, any reported structural issues, any reported neighbour issues (such as noise complaints), and if there's any known contaminated land nearby

​Who can apply​Anyone (although it's mostly used by ​lawyers acting on behalf of a client buying or selling a property)
​How to apply ​Email Environmental Health
​Turnaround time​10 working days 

If you're buying a food business

You should speak to the vendor about any outstanding food safety issues. 

You'll also need to register the food business using the form below.

Licenses to sell refreshments

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