William Eichler 05 January 2021

Property searches face delays from underfunded councils

Property searches face delays from underfunded councils image

The trade body representing property search organisations has written to the communities secretary urging him to provide councils with more funding to speed up the provision of searches to homebuyers.

According to data from the Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO), more than 35% of local authorities are taking more than 20 working days to process search requests and for many of these the delays are more than 30 working days.

CoPSO warned that these delays are impacting on the progress of property transactions, which they say is particularly problematic because of the imminent expiry of the stamp duty holiday.

‘With the expiry of the stamp duty holiday at the end of March looming large, the progress of home purchase transactions is becoming increasingly time critical,’ said CoPSO chairman James Sherwood-Rogers.

‘It is vital that the current delays in procuring searches at an increasing number of local authorities is addressed urgently; and we have no doubt that this needs attention at central Government.

'Responsibility for the operation of the housing market, and for local authorities come together with Robert Jenrick and this is the reason we have approached him for his direct intervention.’

Mr Sherwood-Rogers said that CoPSO was sympathetic to the resource challenges currently facing local authorities during the pandemic and against ‘a backdrop of extraordinary demand caused by a hyperactive property market.’

‘We have communicated with many of the authorities that have substantial backlogs and delayed turnaround times, and the feedback from the overwhelming majority is that they are under-resourced,’ he said.

‘With the expiry of the stamp duty holiday being primarily responsible for the overactive property market, and the chancellor stubbornly refusing to extend the deadline, it behoves central Government to provide additional resource to local Government to address the problem of search delays.’

Cllr David Renard, housing spokesperson for the Local Government Association said: 'Councils are under significant strain at present, with some experiencing staff shortages while others are redeployed to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

'This will inevitably have an impact on some services, and in some cases, local authority searches will take longer due to pressure on departmental resources.'

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: 'Councils have played a critical role during the pandemic and we are ensuring they have the resources needed to deliver effective services for their communities.

'Nobody should miss out on the opportunity to move due to delays with local searches and the vast majority of councils continue to promptly process them.

'The Housing Minister has written to a small number of councils to remind them of our expectations regarding turnaround times.'

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Occupational Therapist

Lancashire County Council
£34,373-£39,571 Per annum
Are you an experienced Occupational Therapist looking for a new and exciting challenge? Chorley, Lancashire
Recuriter: Lancashire County Council

Team Leader - Bloomsbury Home Care - South Essex

Essex County Council
Up to £11.55 per hour
Essex County Council (ECC) are delighted to be supporting Bloomsbury Home Care to recruit Team Leaders for their home care service is the following England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Business Intelligence Officer

Lancashire County Council
£25,927-£30,095 Per annum
This is an exciting opportunity to join a dynamic team, working at the heart of Lancashire County Council Preston, Lancashire
Recuriter: Lancashire County Council

Team Leader - Bloomsbury Home Care - Clacton on Sea

Essex County Council
Up to £11.55 per hour
Essex County Council (ECC) are delighted to be supporting Bloomsbury Home Care to recruit a Team Leader for their home care service in Clacton on Se England, Essex, Clacton-On-Sea
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Awake Night Support Worker - Acorn Villages - Mistley

Essex County Council
Up to £9.50 per hour
Essex County Council (ECC) are delighted to be supporting Acorn Villages to recruit Awake Night Support Workers for their supported living facility England, Essex, Manningtree
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.