Reporting on Legal Matters.

Original Article
February 10th, 2018


A Surveyor while examining and seeing the subject property is in a privileged position which allows them to investigate, and in some cases even ask the vendor, various questions which no other professional appointed to assist with the property transaction might have the advantage of. The Surveyor has a responsibility to act as the eyes and ears of the client’s legal adviser and therefore they must notify and report on matters which may not be apparent to someone who has not seen the property.

The report should include all of the following:

Planning permission:
Planning permission is commonly required if the property was, will be or is:

  • A new build property where also some kind of guarantee for the works is required to report on (NHBC, Zurich, BOPAS, etc.)
  • The property has been significantly extended. Please research your Local Planning Department and website on specific conditions
  • The property use is not purely residential

Building regulation approval:
This relates to legal matters reflecting legislation and legal framework which might affect the property and any work which was carried out or may be planned. Examples such works are:

•    Retrofit cavity and solid wall insulation
•    Replacement fuse boxes and connected electrics
•    Installing a new bathroom
•    Changing electrics near a bath or shower
•    Installing fixed air-conditioning system
•    Replacement windows, doors, roof windows or rooflights 
•    Replacement roof coverings on pitched and flat roofs
•    Fitting a flue liner
•    Installing or replacing a heating system (primary and/or secondary)
•    Adding extra radiators to a heating system
•    Installing renewables

These types of work might be certified by competent person schemes, for more info please visit:

For listed buildings, buildings in conservations areas and properties around trees which are subject to Tree Preservation Orders further conditions and requirements must be met.

Sites requiring mining reports, or previously contaminated sites, should automatically trigger recommendation to check whether mining report is in place or a Remediation Certificate exists.

Other issues which the client’s solicitor is ought to know are:

  • Any Green Deal arrangements related to the subject property
  • Responsibility and ownership of maintaining boundaries (poorly defined boundaries, party wall issues, rights of light, right of way, etc.)
  • Services connections related to easements and wayleaves
  • Requirements for parking permits
  • When protected animals (bats, badgers or other species) are present at the property

Further advice or searches on any of these matters, should be arranged under a separate service agreement, as these are not covered under the scope of Home Condition Survey.