01638 576478


Conveyancing disbursements explained

The definition of a disbursement is a payment that has to be made to a third party such as The Land Registry for online or direct registration of property title in England or the UK generally.

When you see the word disbursement on a conveyancing estimate or quote you would assume therefore that the items listed under the disbursements section would be payments that the solicitor will be making on your behalf to third parties.

This is not always the case and items are often wrongly listed in the conveyancing disbursements section.

Some conveyancing firms charge an unrealistically low conveyancing fee hoping that the consumer will just compare that fee to other companies’ fees and accept is on face value as a lower quote. However, it is very important to check the TOTAL amount quoted by the conveyancing firm as some companies are in the habit of including part of their conveyancing fees in the disbursements section.

Conveyancing Disbursements

Listed below are genuine disbursements with an explanation of what the payment is for. We have also listed some items that you may find in the disbursements section of some firms that are not genuine disbursements but are part of that firm’s charges:

Genuine Disbursements

Stamp Duty

If you are buying or transferring a property and it is liable for stamp duty the amount will be shown as a disbursement. Stamp duty is a government tax levied when a property is sold or transferred. This tax is payable by the buyer of the property or share in the property.
For current Stamp Duty rates please Click Here

H M Land Registry fees

When you buy a property, take out a new mortgage or transfer a share in a property the transaction must be registered at the Land Registry. The Land Registry charge a fee for registering the transfer and this is on a sliding scale depending upon the price of the property. To check the current Land Registry fees visit www.landregistry.gov.uk

Official Copy Entries and Filed Plan

When you sell or re-mortgage a property your solicitor will apply to the Land Registry for an Official copy of the deeds relating to your property and an Official Copy of the filed plan relating to your property. If the Official copy refers to a document that is not set out in the Official copies then your solicitor will also have to obtain an Official copy of that document. Sometimes when you are buying your solicitor will obtain an Official copy of the filed plan to use for search purposes.


When you buy a property or take out a new mortgage you will have to have certain legal searches carried out against the property. There are many types of conveyancing search but the most typical are:

The local authority search

This is a search of the registers of the local authority and covers the following matters:

Planning decisions and pending applications

The search must stipulate what applications for any of the following have been approved or rejected or whether there is a decision pending by the relevant authority:

  • Planning permissions
  • Listed building consents
  • Conservation areas
  • Certificates of lawful use of existing use or proposed use or developments
  • Building regulations approvals
  • Building regulations completion certificates
  • Planning designations plans and proposals
  • Highways
  • Land required for public purposes
  • Land to be acquired for road works
  • Drainage agreements and consents
  • Nearby road schemes
  • Traffic schemes
  • Nearby railway schemes
  • Outstanding notices in relation to building works, the environment, health and safety, housing
  • Contravention of building regulations
  • Planning enforcement. Notices, orders directions and proceedings under planning acts
  • Compulsory purchase
  • Contaminated land
  • Radon gas
  • Additional local enquiries

The local authority may also answer specific additional enquiries.  The CON 29 has an additional question section CON 29 Part II from which the conveyancer can select additional enquiries.

A typical enquiry would be whether the property is affected by a public footpath or by-way. The local authority charges an additional fee per enquiry. The conveyancer can also raise additional enquiries of the local authority in a separate written enquiry. The local authority charges an additional fee for this service.

Water / Drainage Search

This is a search of the registers of the water authority local to the property. It must cover the following:

  • Public sewer maps
  • Foul drainage and surface water
  • Public adoption of sewers and lateral drains
  • Public sewers within the boundary of the property
  • Public sewers near to the property
  • Building over a public sewer, disposal main or drain
  • Map of the waterworks
  • Adoption of water mains and service pipes
  • Sewerage and water undertakers
  • Connection to mains water supply
  • Water mains, resource mains or discharge pipes
  • Current basis for sewerage and water charges
  • Charges following change of occupation
  • Surface water drainage charges
  • Water meters
  • Sewerage bills
  • Water bills
  • Risk of flooding due to overloaded public sewers
  • Risk of low water pressure or flow
  • Water quality analysis
  • Water quality standards
  • Sewage treatment works

Conveyancing Disbursements continued