Official searches (PG12)

How to make an official search and information on their purpose and effect (practice guide 12)



This guide gives advice on the purpose and effect of the various types of official search applications that may be made with HM Land Registry. It is aimed at purchasers, their legal advisers and non-purchasers who want to update the information they hold in an official copy of the register.

We only provide factual information and impartial advice about our procedures. Read more about the advice we give.

Published 13 October 2003
Last updated 30 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Sections 2.5 and 2.6 have been added to clarify what interests may or may not be protected by an official search.
  2. Guide updated, including to the title - previously 'Official searches and outline applications' - to remove the section that dealt with and references to outline applications on revocation of rule 54 of the Land Registration Rules 2003 by The Land Registration (Amendment) Rules 2018, coming into force on 6 April 2018. Other minor changes have been made because of the Amendment Rules.
  3. Section 3.1.1 has been amended to clarify what HM Land Registry defines as a ‘business day’.
  4. Section 8.1 has been updated to clarify the circumstances in which an outline application may be submitted in advance of an electronic application.
  5. Section 10 has been amended as we have introduced a new method of withdrawing an official search for customers who use the portal.
  6. Section 5.3 has been amended as a result of a resolution of a system issue regarding applications for searches of whole lodged through Business e-services where an application for first registration was pending.
  7. Section 5.3 has been amended to clarify that we will charge only the lower electronic fee even though searches of whole lodged against pending first registrations can be sent only by post.
  8. Section 5.3 has been further amended. As a result of a system issue, applications for a search of whole lodged through Business e-services where an application for first registration is pending can currently only be returned by post.
  9. Section 5.3 has been amended. You cannot lodge an OS1 application through Business e-services where the application for first registration is still pending.
  10. The guide has been amended to reflect that we will no longer accept applications by fax.
  11. Link to the advice we offer added.
  12. First published.