While the current pandemic has undoubtedly had an immediate and negative effect on the UK’s housing market, as sales slowly pick up Mid Devon’s Land Charges team is in a great position to ensure speedy sales can take place.
The small team, who have consistently won national accolades as part of the Land Data Awards over the past few years, were able to maintain their high level of service while working from home, as soon as the Covid enforced lockdown hit.
The Land Charges team is responsible for preparing local authority searches for solicitors and conveyancers acting on behalf of clients looking to buy, lease or re-mortgage a property, or a piece of land. The searches they conduct identify whether there are any legal restrictions affecting land or property, upon which completion of a sale would be binding, such as conditions imposed on planning permissions, conservation areas and listed buildings status.More detailed searches include other pending matters such as tree preservation orders, responsibility for any road maintenance, parking restrictions, compulsory purchase orders and whether a property falls within a contaminated area of land.
Donna and Pauline who make up the team, ensured all existing searches were completed promptly, allowing any stalled purchases to go through as soon the housing market was reopened by the Government, as part of its easing of lockdown.
Although the strict lockdown measures initially meant there were around 60% less searches compared to a regular month the team is confident those figures are now beginning to rise and positively, in the past few days, the duo have seen pre-lockdown levels of searches being carried out.
Pauline said: “The measures we already had in place meant we could seamlessly continue our work from home and ensure any sales that were about to go through were not hindered by us. Now the market is reopening, albeit slowly, we are there supporting sellers and buyers and have successfully been able to maintain a quick turnaround, supporting them in what must be a very stressful time.”
Initially the team felt the pick up was slow but a sudden surge has seen figures back to regular levels, which is good for the team and good for the Mid Devon economy.
Cabinet Member Cllr Dennis Knowles added: “Pauline and Donna always perform their roles to a high level and even a pandemic has not hindered their work ethos and attitude. The team is consistently recognised at a national level as one of the best performing land charges team in the country and I am delighted they are here to help play a part in supporting the local housing market and wider Mid Devon economy.”