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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hm-land-registry-local-land-charges-programme/local-land-charges-programme
Every local authority in England, with the exception of county councils, is required to hold a local land charges register that records obligations affecting properties within their administrative area. Under the Infrastructure Act 2015 responsibility for the 326 registers will be transferred to HM Land Registry.
Local land charges
Local land charges searches are normally required in the property-buying process. Most local land charges are restrictions or prohibitions on the use of the property. The local land charges search will reveal whether a property is subject to a charge if that charge has been registered. The property will be subject to it regardless of whether it is registered or not. Other searches will need to be conducted to determine whether a property has an obligation on it.
Common obligations protected as local land charges include:
- planning permissions (these form the majority of charges)
- listed buildings
- conservation areas
- tree preservation orders
- improvement and renovation grants
- smoke control zone conditions
- light obstruction notice conditions
Local authorities maintain a local land charges register for their administrative area. The records are held in a range of formats such as paper, microfiche and electronic. Prices also vary considerably and this has led to an inconsistent service for customers depending on their postcode.
A local land charge is created by either local authorities or other bodies with the powers to do so, known collectively as originating authorities.
Building a national service
HM Land Registry is building the foundations for a national local land charges service through our Local Land Charges Programme. The aim of the new service is to focus on reducing the turnaround time and cost of searches. It will become part of our core operations and statutory function.
As implementation requires secondary legislation, we launched a public consultation on the draft Local Land Charges Rules 2017, which ran until 11 July 2016.
Local authorities must complete a number of tasks prior to the migration of their local land charges data.
Read the pre-migration guide.
The new service
When the transfer of data from an individual local authority to HM Land Registry is completed, customers and users will be able to search and receive near-instant digital results via our website or business channels, the portal and Business Gateway.
Local authorities will still be required to apply, vary and cancel charges in the new register. They will also need to provide source documents on request and respond to additional enquiries from customers following HM Land Registry’s issue of a search result.
Contact the programme team: firstname.lastname@example.org.