Contaminated land has long been a concern for home buyers. When discovered at a property, it can involve crippling costs if clean-up is required and could lead to a significant loss in the property’s value.
Recognising the significance of the problem, the Law Society has recently issued a practice note on the subject, offering its guidance in regards to the steps that conveyancers should take in order to protect their clients.
Their guidance states that in all purchases, unless instructed otherwise, a CON29 search should be undertaken in order to reveal whether land has been designated by the local authority as contaminated. While a negative response to the search may suggest there is no contamination, in reality it could also very easily mean that no conclusion has been reached about the site or that it hasn’t yet been inspected.
The Law Society makes a number of suggestions if contamination is a potential issue, including one that suggests you should ‘consider and advise your client on the appropriateness of obtaining an environmental insurance policy’.
Naturally, you won’t be surprised to learn that we have just such a policy - and although we may be biased, we’re confident that it offers a simple remedy for historical contamination dilemmas.
The policy is called HELP (Home Environmental Liability Policy) and it covers all costs involved in complying with a remediation notice issued by the local authority, or for carrying out works to prevent a notice being served. Our policy also covers any loss in market value of a property when sold in the future, following a claim.
Whether or not you’ve obtained an environmental report, providing there’s no official investigation or activity underway, our cover is freely available and protects both the purchaser and lender. Premiums start at just £35 for a policy with a £50,000 limit of indemnity, and the period of cover is a market-leading 15 years as standard.