Community Infrastructure Levy

CIL or Community Infrastructure Levy

The CIL is a new charging method for developments to support local infrastructure that was outlined in Part 11 of the Planning Act 2008 and subsequently particularised and enacted in the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 which came into force 6th April 2010.

Section 128 of the 2010 regulations says where planning permission is granted for development by way of a general consent, liability for CIL does not arise in respect of that development if it is commenced before 6th April 2013 or on the day on which it was commenced; it is situated in an area in which no charging order schedule is in effect.


How does CIL affect residential Property?

For the majority of home owners CIL will not be an issue. Section 42 of the 2010 Regulations exempts minor development. If on completion of a development, the gross internal area of a new build area on the land will be less than 100 square metres, there is no liability for CIL. Most residential household extensions, annexes or works are unlikely to attract liability for CIL due to this size exemption.

This exemption does not apply if the development will result in one or more new dwellings.

Section 42A of The Community Infrastructure Levy (Amendment) Regulations 2014 provides exemptions for annexes and extensions by owners that use the property as their sole or main residence (as long as it does not result in a new dwelling).

Self-builders of residential Properties can also rest easy as they are entitled to relief/exemption under Section 54A of The Community Infrastructure Levy (Amendment) Regulations 2014. However they do need to apply to the collecting authority to obtain this relief/exemption. Failure to do so may mean the CIL is payable in full.


What does it mean if I see a CIL notice or Land Charge for CIL on the local search?

The existence of a CIL schedule will usually be revealed on most local searches, as most local authorities will wish to put a charging schedule in place. The existence of any affirmative answers for the existence of notices in relation to CIL should prompt further enquiries to be made. It is likely that, for residential property conveyancers, CIL will only ever be encountered for new build properties. In such a situation potential CIL liability is similar to financial obligations set out in S106 agreements. With S106 agreements you should usually seek confirmation that the obligations have been discharged, are not passed onto successors in title, or that the limitation period for enforcement of debts arising under S106 agreements has passed so that the plot purchaser will not be liable for any unpaid sums. S8 of the Limitation Act 1980 sets out a limitation period of 12 years for an action arising upon specialty (a deed).

For a CIL liability, as explained below under “Default Notices”, if the collecting authority cannot recover CIL amounts due they can seek recovery from land owners. Just like S106 agreements then, confirmation that liability is discharged should be sought. The limitation period for an action arising from statute is set out in Section 9 of the Limitation Act 1980, being 6 years from the date of the cause of action. The cause of action for CIL being the dates when the payments for CIL are due, the payment periods for CIL are set out in Section 70 of the 2010 Regulations.

As with any debt there is always the potential that the limitation period may be deemed to run from a later date if efforts to chase the debt are made, so it is always better to check any potential CIL or S106 financial obligation liability is discharged rather than rely on the dates revealed in searches.


Local Search CIL

The CON29 standard questions for local searches were amended in 2016 to include question 3.10 which asks about the Community Infrastructure Levy.

3.10. Community infrastructure levy (CIL)

  • Is there a CIL Charging Schedule?
  • If, yes, do any of the following subsist in relation to the property, or has a local authority decided to issue, serve, make or commence any of the following:-:
    1. A liability notice?
    2. A notice of chargeable development?
  • A demand notice?
  1. A default notice?
  2. An assumption of liability notice?
  3. A commencement notice?
  • Has any demand notice been suspended?
  • Has the Local Authority received full or part payment of any liability?
  • Has the Local Authority received any appeal against any of the above?
  • Has a decision been taken to apply for a liability order?
  • Has a liability order been granted?
  • Have any other enforcement measures been taken?



The complete set of forms required when dealing with CILs is available from the Planning Portal Website here:



Liability notice

A liability notice is to be served by the ‘collecting authority’ as soon as practicable after the day on which a planning permission first permits development. A template notice of liability is available from the planning portal website here.

Section 65 of The Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 sets out the main points for the liability notice. Simply put, the liability notice will set out details such as the chargeable amount due and when it should be paid. This notice will be sent to the person or persons jointly, liable for the charge.


A Notice of Chargeable Development

A Notice of chargeable Development applies where development is granted by way of a “general consent”. General consent is defined in Section 5(3) of the Regulations.

Before a development granted by a general consent is commended, a notice of chargeable development must be submitted to the collecting authority using a form made by the Secretary of State or one substantially similar together with any plans, drawings or photographs to identify the relevant land, buildings to be demolished and chargeable development. A copy of the form is available from the planning portal website here.

If a Notice of Chargeable Development is not submitted before development is commenced, the collecting authority may impose a surcharge equal to 20 per cent of the chargeable amount payable in respect of the development or £2500, whichever is the lower amount.

Demand Notices

The collecting authority must serve a “demand notice” on each person liable to pay CIL. A template demand notice is available from the planning portal website here.


Default Notice

Where a person assumed liability to pay the CIL and the collecting authority is unable to recover an amount of CIL payable, the collecting authority may determine that liability to pay the amount of CIL payable is transferred to the owners of the land. The collecting authority must first “use all reasonable effect to recover the amount of CIL payable using one or more of the provisions in Chapter 3 of Part 9 of the 2010 Regulations.

The methods available for recovery of CIL are: –

  • Liability Order
  • Distress
  • Committal to Prison (only where the debtor is an individual, an attempt to levy by distress was unsuccessful, the authority can demonstrate they are unable to recover the levy by way of charging order and the court is satisfied that the failures to pay the debt is due to the debtor’s wilful refusal or culpable neglect).
  • Charging Order
  • Insolvency
  • Enforcement of a local land charge (only if the sum due is £2000 or greater)

Assumption of Liability Notice

If a person wishes to assume liability to pay CIL they may submit an assumption of liability notice. A form for this is available from the planning portal website here.


Commencement Notice

Where planning permission is granted for a chargeable development, a commencement notice must be submitted to the collecting authority. A form for this notice may be found on the planning portal website here.


Drainage and Water Searches

CON29DW – Drainage and Water Search – In brief


The CON29DW search, commonly referred to as the Drainage or Drainage and Water Search is a search carried out by the sewerage and water undertaker for the Property. The search reveals a lot of useful information in relation to the water connection, foul and surface water drainage.

Not sure who your water and sewerage undertaker is? Check out this useful map or go to


Map of UK water providers
UK Water Provider Map


Each undertaker has their own official CON29DW provider;


Not sure of the right search provider for the Property location? Use the great useful tool on the Con29DW website here. Type in a postcode and it will tell you the correct place to request an official CON29DW search from.


For an example CON29DW search check this out from the SafeSearch website here

What will you need to provide to your Conveyancer?

What will my conveyancer need to get started?

Every conveyancer will have different requirements but most likely you will have to provide the following:-

For a Quote

All you will need is to give the following:-

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Email or telephone
  • Purchase / Sale Price (Most conveyancing quotes depend on the sale/purchase price amongst other things)
  • Freehold or Leasehold? Is the Property you are buying/selling leasehold or freehold? If you do not know your quote will likely be done on the basis that it is freehold, however if it does turn out to be leasehold expect that the price will be higher than quoted.

Learn more about what you can expect from a conveyancing quotation by reading our conveyancing quotes article.

If you do need a quote most conveyancers can give you one without the above information. I would recommend using someone you can speak with by telephone to get the quote. If your chosen conveyancer can’t return or answer your calls to give you a quote, they probably won’t when you need them during the transaction process.


Accepted your quote?

What you will need to instruct a Conveyancer to act for you

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Email or telephone

Although they will already have this from when you obtained your quotation.

  • Agreed purchase/sale price
  • Property address
  • Your ID,     Photo identity document like a driving licence or passport; and
  1. Utility bill.

Just like when you applied for your mortgage your conveyancer will require your Identification Documents as proof of your ID. Most Conveyancers will require sight of your ORIGINAL passport or driving licence and a utility bill as proof of your address. If you cannot take your originals into the office then you will need to have your Identity Documents certified. Most Solicitors firms will do this for you for a small fee of around £7 -£10 and the

post office can help too:


  • Source of Funds documents; Depending on which conveyancers you use they will ask for some sort of evidence of where the money you will be using towards your purchase comes from. It is perfectly normal to be asked to provide bank statements or savings accounts statements to evidence where you money comes from. Every conveyancer will have different requirements but each will have ask for this as it is a legal requirement for all conveyancers to comply with strict anti-money laundering regulations.


  • The estate agents details (this is so your conveyancers can obtain all of the required information about your buyer/seller direct from the agents)


  • A payment on account; although some firms offer a no completion no fee service, a payment will be required on account before they can start work to account for costs the firm incurs in the course of acting for you. For example for searches or land registry fees.


  • Client care; Each conveyancers will have a set of terms and conditions and an information pack for you to complete and return so they know as much of the key details about your purchase/sale as possible so they can get to work without pestering you for information.

You can expect to be asked for information about the following:

  • (Sale) Do you have an existing mortgage? If so you will need to give the name or your existing mortgage lender and the mortgage account number. This is so your conveyancer can find out exactly how much your lender will need to pay off the mortgage on completion.
  • (Sale) How you want the sale proceeds to be paid to you, by cheque or bank transfer. Most conveyancers charge a small bank transfer fee to make a payment to you by bank transfer
  • (Purchase) Details of your new mortgage lender
  • (Purchase) How you wish to hold the Property. If you are buying in joint names if you wish to hold the property as ‘joint tenants’ or ‘tenants in common’
  • (Purchase) Are you providing the money yourself or are you getting a gift? If you are using money from a parent or friend they will need the details of this person to contact them to ask for the ID and source of funds documents mentioned above.
  • (Purchase) Your National Insurance Number and Date of Birth. These details are needed to submit the Stamp Duty Land Tax return for you after you buy the Property.

This is not an exhaustive list; every conveyancer is different and will want to know different things as part of their standard initial documentation that they send out to you. Most of the things above are good indication of what to expect. Most firms will not start working until their initial information / client care pack is returned and you make the initial payment on account. Until you return the client care pack, they do not officially act for you.

As always if there is anything different or special about your transaction make your conveyancer aware right at the start. Either by telephone or in writing so it cannot be missed. For example is it an auction purchase/sale? Are you selling just part of your Property? Are you buying a property to let out or re-develop? Is there something you are worried about that may affect the sale of your Property?

Conveyancing Searches

Conveyancing Searches

What are conveyancing searches?

Searches are requests for information that your Conveyancer will make from certain authorities or organisations that will provide certain information about the Property and the local area. Your Conveyancer will check that the searches do not reveal any legal issues that may have to be resolved or investigated before the Property transaction can proceed. There is also a lot more information these searches provide which could be useful to house buyers.


What conveyancing searches can I get?

There are lots of searches on the market that you can request when you buy a property. However the main ones are as follows:-

  • Local Authority Search (CON29),

This search returns a lot of useful information from the local authority such as historic planning and building regulations information relating to the Property, whether or not the Property is a listed building or within a conservation area, and lots more information. For a full list of the questions asked on a standard local authority search see the standard questions available at the Law Society website here


  • Drainage and Water Search;

This will reveal the foul and surface water drainages connections at the Property and will show where the public water and drainage pipes are. It can also tell you the quality of the water in the area, how the property is billed for water and where the water meter is located.


  • Environmental Search;

Environmental searches can differ from provider to provider but essentially it will let you know if there is any potential for contamination at the Property, it might advise on flooding risks and natural ground subsidence risks. The key thing to remember with all searches, but particularly this one is that no one physically inspects the Property when compiling the search results, the results are based purely on data available to the search providers. If you are particularly concerned about any possible environmental issues at a property you should seek advice from a surveyor.


  • Coal Mining Search;

This will reveal if there was any past coal mining in the area or if there is any present or future intention to do so.


Be careful, one thing that tends to get a lot of press is when Properties fall into sink holes that were previously unknown, for example if there were built on old mine shafts. This search is limited purely to coal mining so if you are worried about other types of mining, seek a search specific to that particular mineral. If you are worried about this contact your conveyancer who can advise about the best search to obtain.


Do you need all of the searches, are they mandatory?


Searches are not mandatory; however some mortgage lenders will not let you purchase a Property without your Conveyancer obtaining searches. Other mortgage lenders may be able to lender to you without searches if you take out a special no search indemnity policy. For more information, see the other articles on indemnity policies or ask your conveyancer. If you are buying with cash and without a mortgage, you would still benefit from searches but they are not mandatory.


Conveyancers can only use the information they obtain from the Seller, Searches and Property Title to advise you on the Property you are purchasing. If you decide to proceed without searches, one third of the information available to your Conveyancer will not be available when you advised about the Property. So be careful, if you are unsure speak with your conveyancer who will most likely advise that you obtain searches.



How long do conveyancing searches take?


It varies, the environmental, drainage and water and coal searches are usually returned within 24 hours. The local search however, is notorious for taking some time to come back and take anywhere between 1-4 weeks. While waiting for this search the rest of the transaction is usually ticking along and is not necessarily holding anything up, however if you are worried that it may hold things up contact your conveyancer as they may be able to offer an alternative solution. For example I sometimes order searches before having any documentation from the Sellers so that by the time the Sellers provide the contracts and title documents, search results are already back.



Do you need a conveyancer?

Do I need a conveyancer?

Technically no (This website 100% always recommends you always use a conveyancer no matter how small the property transaction. But for the sake of being open and informative technically you do not require a conveyancer if you are dealing with a transaction without a mortgage.)

There is no legal requirement to use a solicitor/conveyancer when you buy or sell a house.

Preparing a transfer or making an application to the land registry to register a property transaction is in fact a regulated activity under Schedule 2 of the Legal Services Act 2007 and can therefore only be done by a regulated person such as a solicitor or conveyancer. However one may do so if they are an individual not doing so for, or in expectation of, any fee, gain or reward. So there is no legal barrier to completing a property transaction without a conveyancer/solicitor if you do so for yourself.

You can be your own conveyancer in the same way you can be your own mechanic and fix your own vehicle, be your own builder and build yourself an extension, or be your own accountant. But remember when buying or selling a property you are likely dealing with one of, if not the most expensive, thing you will ever own and doing so without the right expertise can be disastrous. Would you dabble with your super car worth a few hundred thousand pounds by following a YouTube guide or e-book or would you spend a few hundred pounds to have it done right?

If you buy, transfer or sell a Property with a mortgage, your mortgage Lender will require that you use a Solicitor/Conveyancer and you cannot proceed without one.

YES – for so many reasons

There are so many reasons why you should always use a conveyancer, and given the choice, use a Solicitor regulated by the SRA.  

  • They know what they are doing and even though it may take time, it will be done correctly. If for some reason your chosen conveyancer makes an error and it costs you, every conveyancer dealing with property transactions must have very thorough professional indemnity insurance which ensures that you have the ability to recover your losses for their mistake. In the industry and legal media this is often referred to as “gold plated indemnity insurance” because it is so comprehensive.


  • Conveyancers prefer dealing with other conveyancers. If you decide not to use a conveyancer your buyer/seller will likely use one themselves and you will have to deal with their chosen legal representation yourself. They will likely be required to carry out the same regulatory checks on you that your own solicitor would, for example checking your source of funds and identity documents.


  • Conveyancing is not just about drawing up the correct transfer deed, paying/taking the money and handing over the keys. 90% of conveyancing is due diligence and risk management, checking that what you are buying is what you expect and checking for potential hazards or legal risks so you know what to expect. If you don’t know what you are doing and miss something a seasoned professional would spot without thinking, you could end up with a horrific surprise in store.


  • There is someone to blame if it goes wrong and there it is safe to believe that you will ultimately be compensated. This is a pretty cynical point but it is true. If you pay a builder to renovate your home and it goes wrong, you can sue them for breach of contract or negligence, and sure enough you might win and recover your money, or they might just liquidate their company and evade any legal claim you make or be unable to pay you and go bankrupt.


When using a Solicitor or conveyancer there are a number of options if something goes wrong. If they make an error and it costs you, you can sue the Solicitor/Conveyancer or go to the Legal Ombudsman. All conveyancers and Solicitors must have mandatory Professional Indemnity Insurance which means you can also sue their insurer. (This works much the same way as car insurance, if a driver hits your car, you claim against the driver and their insurer). Even if the Solicitor or conveyancer cannot pay your compensation their insurer will be able to. In the very very rare instance where both a Solicitor and their insurer cannot pay, it may be possible to make a claim against the SRA directly for compensation from the Solicitors Indemnity Fund. (Non SRA regulated firms may not have this option available and this is ultimately one of the benefits of using a Solicitor regulated by the SRA over another organisation).


  • Conveyancing correctly takes time. Reviewing the documents, communicating with the Seller/Buyer’s conveyancer, drafting documents and agreeing them with the other parties involved. For a purchase even after you get the keys your conveyancer has to register your purchase with the land registry and ensure the correct tax returns are filed with the HMRC. With conveyancing fixed fees as low as they are today, just the time it will save you if you tried to do it yourself is very good value.


I work as a conveyancer. I know the legal ins and outs of buying and selling properties and can do it myself but I will always use a Solicitor to act for me when I buy or sell; why? Because ultimately if something goes wrong or even if the transaction is a tad bit complex a conveyancer has the resources and offers the protection to keep the risks to me, minimal.