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Conveyancing disbursements explained

When you move home, or are involved in any property transaction, you will come across a number of technical terms or jargon which relate to the conveyancing process.

At Veritas Law we will always try and minimise the use of jargon, however, when it is unavoidable we are always happy to explain these terms to you.

For you reference, below is a list of common terms and their meanings.


Disbursements are simply expenses which are incurred during the Conveyancing process which are not solicitors fees.

Local Authority search

This is a search of the local authority’s registers concerning the property you are buying. It gathers information such as whether the road serving the property should be maintained by the council, whether any planning applications have been made on the property and various other things which may affect your decision to buy the property.

Official Copy Entries

When you sell or re-mortgage a property your solicitor will apply to the Land Registry (which is the government organisation which keeps a register of the ownership of land and property in the England and Wales) for an official copy of the deeds relating to your property. Matters such as ownership of the property, details of any rights and restrictions and mortgages registered on the property are shown.

Land Registration fees

When you buy a property, transfer a share in a property or take out a new mortgage, the transaction has to be registered at the Land Registry.
The Land Registry charges a fee for registering the transfer of ownership and mortgages which is dependant upon the price of the property.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)

When you buy a property over a certain value you will be liable to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax on the value of the property. Stamp duty is a government tax levied when a property is sold or transferred.

SDLT is payable by the buyer of the property. For the current SDLT rates please contact one of our conveyancing staff.

Mining searches

There are various types of mining carried out in the UK today as well as in the past. These commonly include coal mining, tin mining and chalk mining.

Your solicitor will check if the property you wish to buy is in a mining area and if so they will carry out a search to ensure that the property will not be adversely affected by the mining activities.

Environmental search

The law does not currently require local authorities to keep a register of contaminated land. An envircontact usonmental search will check whether the land upon which the property is built has been contaminated.

Some property is built on land that has previously been contaminated, possibly by landfill or by previous industrial use of the land.

An environmental search will check whether this is the case for the property you are buying. It will also show whether the land is at known risk of subsidence, flooding or toxic emissions.

Chancel repair check

In the past when the Church sold or gifted land they sometimes required the new owner to pay towards the upkeep of the church or its lands. In rare instances some property is still subject to this liability.

There was a recent case where one unsuspecting couple were forced to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to the church because their property was subject to this liability.

A Chancel search is a low cost search that will check to see if the property you are buying has any historic Chancel repair liability.

Water and drainage search

This is a search of the local water authority which serves the area. It provides confirmation of whether the property is connected to a public or private water supply and sewer system. It will also show how charges for water and drainage are calculated for the property (water meter or rateable value).

Telegraphic transfer fees

If you are buying a property your solicitor will have to send either the purchase money to your seller's solicitor by telegraphic transfer or pay off any mortgages secured against the property.

This is a very fast and secure method of transferring money electronically on the day of a property transaction. Banks make a charge for this and the solicitor passes that charge on to you.