Search trade body CoPSO calls for clarity from Government

The Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO) has welcomed the Government’s recognition of the positive contribution made over many years by private sector search companies to the benefit of home buyers and sellers.

In its response document to the Call for Evidence on the home buying and selling process, the Government acknowledges that the industry has played a key role in improving turnaround times for searches and reducing costs for consumers.

CoPSO Chairman James Sherwood-Rogers said:

‘The Government findings vindicate what we have been saying for some time now that searches are very rarely the cause of delays. When a search is slow to come back, it is invariably the local council where the problem lies. Of course, it is also important that conveyancers order their searches as early as practicable.

‘We are pleased that the Government announced in the response document that it now expects local authorities to turnaround a search request within ten days and grant reasonable access to personal search agents, but given the problems that we have had over the years in getting access to council data, we believe the Government needs to provide clarity on what ‘reasonable access’ means.‘

CoPSO has called on Government to stipulate local authorities should give access to data to regulated personal search companies in a time frame that matches the turnaround for their own searches and in any event no greater than 7 working days.

James Sherwood-Rogers comments:

‘Unfortunately there are a handful of councils with a track record in limiting public access to their records. It is often the same councils who take weeks to turnaround searches and have high charges. It’s time to end this postcode lottery by ensuring a level playing field and providing genuine choice for conveyancers’.


Kindly shared by the Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO)