As part of your purchase of a property, we would always recommend that searches are carried out. If you are purchasing with the assistance of a mortgage, the majority of searches are required by lenders and we will therefore be required to carry out searches in this circumstance.  However, if you are purchasing the property without the assistance of a mortgage you will be able to decide whether or not you wish for us to obtain searches.  We have therefore listed the searches that we recommend to provide some assistance in your decision. The recommended searches are as follows:

  1. Coal search – if the property is in the local area or in a different coal mining area, this search is recommend as it will reveal if there are any mine shafts or any subsidence claims near the property. This can cause an increased risk of subsidence at the property. If the search reveals a mine shaft or any subsidence claims then the search would need to be reported to your lender to see if they are willing to proceed. You may also wish to carry out additional checks to ensure that you are happy to proceed. If you are purchasing the property without a mortgage, this information will help you make an informed decision as to whether to proceed. It may also affect the future saleability of the property as any purchaser’s obtaining a mortgage would need to report the search to their lender.
  2. Local Authority search – this search shows information held by the Local Authority in respect of the property. The search, most importantly, would reveal if there are any grants in relation to the property. If grants are revealed we can ensure that the seller of the property repays the grant on completion. If you do not obtain the search and a grant is in existence on the property, you would then be responsible for paying the grant and this will have to be paid on the sale of the property regardless of the amount of the grant. We are not able to obtain this information without obtaining the search and therefore not obtaining the search can be a costly error. This search also looks at a wide variety of areas specific to the property such as: road proposals or transport proposals, contamination entries, Planning Permission applications and many more.
  3. Water Search – this search will confirm the location of any recorded main water or sewer pipes. The existence of the pipes can hinder any building in the future if the pipes are in the location you wish to build.       If any elements of the building you are to construct is within 3 metres of a public sewer you must obtain a Build Over Agreement from United Utilities before proceeding with any building. The search will also reveal if the property is connected to mains water supply and sewer supply etc.
  4. Environmental Search – This search looks at various environmental issues that the property may be at risk of. They include: flooding, contamination, subsidence etc. If the search reveals issues this will provide you with further information that you may wish to investigate before you purchase the property.
  5. Planning Report – we would recommend this search if you have any concerns that there may be any nearby developments. This is particularly important if the property you are purchasing is in a rural area as it may not be obvious that there are any developments nearby. We can advise the Local Authority search only reveals any planning permission obtained in respect of the property itself and not any nearby properties.

We can advise that the above are the standard searches that we would recommend for the local area and the majority of properties. However, there may be additional searches which we may recommend during the course of the transaction if it becomes apparent to ourselves that one is required. We can advise that these may be searches such as a tin search if the property is located in Cornwall or a Cheshire brine search if the property is located within Chester.

We may also recommend a chancel search if it becomes apparent to us that one is required as they are not required for every property. We can advise that a chancel search will reveal if the property is at risk of any chancel repair liability.   We would assess your matter as to whether a chancel search is required and inform you if we believe this should be obtained.

For further information or advice, please contact our Conveyancing Team at MBH by telephone on 01942 206060 or by email to Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.

Written by Sammy-Jo Woodward, Residential Conveyancing Solicitor



My Work Experience at McCarthy Bennett Holland Solicitors

My name is Nathan, and I currently study law at Winstanley College in Orrell. I was given the opportunity to attend a work placement, courtesy of MBH Solicitors, to further my knowledge regarding my dream job as a solicitor, on the 20th to the 24th of January. This was ultimately to help obtain a first-hand experience of the job and to also better myself in the industry by observing consultations between qualified solicitors and their clients. In addition, I was also shown how to fax, scan and photocopy documents such as driver’s licences and other files, all under written and signed agreement of complete and utter client confidentiality.

To recollect upon my many consultations within conveyancing, alongside Ms Caroline Rooks, I can personally say I have benefited greatly from these instances, both observing the process of a consultation, in addition to the interaction and bond between client and solicitor. These consultations illustrated the inside work of solicitors, that non-members of the profession rarely get to see. Therefore I count myself extremely lucky for this opportunity to observe and participate in these ‘inner workings’ further expanding and enhancing my dreams to become a solicitor.

I personally prefer to receive an education, in such ways as work experience, as I strongly believe that it is ultimately more beneficial than receiving lectures from teachers or producing notes on the matter. As the knowledge is firstly provided by an individual practicing the profession, who is guaranteed to possess extensive first-hand knowledge, and therefore can provide a dependable and decisive vision into the duties of a solicitor and provide evidence (in ways such as consultations) of these necessities, whilst also being in a position to highlight alternative routes to enter the profession, other than the traditional university route, by way of sharing their journey to their current status.

I would highly recommend participation in work experience, if given the opportunity, as it has been an unforgettable week. Working alongside such amazing people as Caroline Rooks in Conveyancing, Gillian Lavelle within family Law, Gemma Eastham in regards to Commercial Conveyancing and Paul Aynsley specialising in Litigation. Each of these incredible people kindly allowed me to work alongside them, whilst I possessed no knowledge of the profession whatsoever, providing me with; expert knowledge, answers to my many questions, a qualified insight into the career, suggestions and much needed help to better myself within the law: in my hope of becoming a solicitor in the subsequent future.

I would like to thank McCarthy Bennett Holland Solicitors, for providing me with this fascinating and enriching experience, and I would also like to go on to personally thank all the staff including Caroline, Gillian, Gemma, Sammy, Paul, Geri, Louise J, Jane, Linda, Rosie, Julie, Joanne, Megan, Kath and Louise H, for such an amazing week, you all made me feel so welcome and happily answered any question I had, I hope to return in the near future as a fully qualified solicitor, to inform you of the huge influence you all had to my life and career path.

Thank you so much,

Nathan Mckee

Protect your land and property from fraudsters

Property fraud is on the increase as fraudsters are using sophisticated tactics and targeting properties by pretending to be you so that they can try and sell or mortgage your property and pocket the proceeds.

Your property is likely to be the most valuable asset you own and it is important therefore to protect it against the risk of fraud.

The Land Registry advise that you are more at risk in the following circumstances:

  • your identity has been stolen
  • your property is rented out
  • you live overseas
  • your property is empty
  • your property is mortgage free
  • your property is unregistered If your property is not currently registered with the Land Registry, you are able to apply for title to the property to be registered voluntarily.  The Land Registry charge a discounted fee for voluntary registrations and our Conveyancing Team at MBH will be able to assist you with this – please telephone us for a quotation. The Land Registry also offers a Property Alert Service which is completely free of charge. Since September 2009, HM Land Registry has prevented 254 fraudulent applications being registered, representing properties valued in excess of £117m – please click on the following link to sign up to the Land Registry’s Property Alert Service:-With the Alert Service you can:
  • Once your property is registered, it is advisable to keep your contact details up to date and this can include providing an email address or an address abroad.  This is particularly important for properties which you do not live in.
  • Your property should be registered if you bought it or mortgaged it from 1998 however, if you are unsure, the Land Registry will be able to confirm whether or not your property is registered with them.  If your property is registered at the Land Registry and you are a victim of property fraud where you suffer financial loss, you will be compensated through the Land Registry indemnity scheme.
  • monitor a property (provided it is registered with HM Land Registry)
  • monitor the property of a relative; you don’t have to own a property to set up an alert
  • choose up to 10 properties to monitor

You will receive email alerts when there is certain activity on the properties you are monitoring. If you receive an alert about an activity that seems suspicious you should take immediate action and follow the steps recommended by the Land Registry as quickly as possible. Not all alert emails will mean fraudulent activity. If you do not think that the alert email is regarding any suspicious activity, you do not need to do anything.

Another option, should you feel that your property is particularly at risk, is to apply for a restriction to be registered against the title to your property. The restriction will prevent the Land Registry registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless a conveyance / solicitor certifies that the application was made by you.

For further information or advice on protecting your property, please contact our Conveyancing Team at MBH by telephone on 01942 206060 or by email to Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.

Written by Louise Jones, Commercial & Residential Conveyancing Executive


Civil Partnerships for opposite sex couples!

On 31st December 2019 , legislation allowed allows heterosexual (‘straight’) couples to enter into a civil partnership rather than marriage if they so wish. Until now, civil partnership has only been open to same sex couples.  As a result of the landmark case, this injustice was deemed by the Supreme Court last year to be discriminatory and it was always hoped that this ruling from the highest Court in England and Wales would persuade the Government to amend the Civil Partnerships Act (2004) to open it up to heterosexual couples. This has now happened.

What is the difference between living together (cohabiting), civil partnership and marriage? In the simplest of terms, the last two provide a legal formality around a relationship; a civil partnership is a legal contract entered into by both parties which carries all of the same benefits and obligations as marriage without the religious ceremony element.  Consequently, it is being viewed by some as a more ‘modern’, ‘business-like’ recognition of a relationship whilst marriage is deemed more traditional, steeped in culture and religion. From a legal perspective, there is no obvious difference between the two but there are significant benefits and obligations to having your relationship status legally recognised.

On the other hand, cohabitation has been the only alternative for heterosexual couples who have not necessarily wanted a religious endorsement of their relationship through marriage. The downside of course is that cohabiting couples do not necessarily benefit from the advantages of a legally recognised relationship whether this is during the happy times of living together, if they separate or indeed when one partner dies.  Some couples therefore enter into cohabitation agreements which is a contract drafted by solicitors that can regulate what should happen if they separate.  However, this does not protect them if one partner dies unexpectedly.

What are the issues that may drive couples to think about moving from cohabitation to civil partnership? A recent article reported that a heterosexual couple from Wigan might be the first in the Borough to take advantage of the new civil partnership legislation. Having been together for many years, they have amassed significant joint assets and want to make sure that each is taken care of if their relationship is brought to an end one way or another.  For many, what happens to money, possessions and pensions following the death of one cohabiting partner is a real concern as the surviving cohabitee won’t necessarily ‘be the beneficiary of the estate’ unlike if they were married. Other issues which can be affected by the status of your relationship include: entitlement to occupy rented housing, caring for children, tax allowances and welfare benefits.

If you are thinking about entering into a civil partnership and need advice on any aspect including procedure, benefits and obligations, please contact us.

We offer 30 minutes free initial advice appointments and also offer payment plans. 

Please do not hesitate to contact our family solicitors Gillian Lavelle or Kim Busby if you wish to discuss any of the above further. Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD Twitter: @MBHSolicitors

Retirement for Mark Boon

McCarthy Bennett Holland Solicitors (MBH) would like to announce the retirement of their Consultant and former senior Partner, Mark Boon as from 1st November 2019.  We are sad to see him go but wish him all the best in his retirement.  Mark was a key member of MBH for over 30 years and has an excellent reputation and standing in the community.

As most of Mark’s clients will be aware, Gemma Eastham joined us in May 2019 and is also assisted in the commercial department by Louise Jones who has worked alongside Mark for a lengthy period of time prior to his retirement. Moving forward, Gemma & Louise will continue to grow the commercial department and are both available to all clients, old and new.

Paul Aynsley, Senior Partner, paid tribute to Mark:

“I am honoured to have worked alongside someone of Mark’s talent. Not only an exemplary lawyer, he combined a warmth, charm and compassion which benefited all staff and clients alike.  He is respected by all who have had the pleasure of working with or knowing him.

“On behalf of the whole firm, I thank him for all that he has given to us and our clients over the years.

About MBH Solicitors

MBH Solicitors has been in business since 1971 and has a widespread and diverse client base. The firm is forward thinking and offers electronic or traditional ways of conducting your case.  A modern approach is taken to ensure that you are provided with an efficient service.

MBH offer the following services:

  • Commercial Advice & Litigation
  • Commercial Property
  • Company Share Sale & Acquisition
  • Landlord & Tenant
  • Commercial Leases
  • Business Acquisition & Sale
  • Shareholder Agreements
  • Wills & Probate (Estate Management)
  • General Litigation & Dispute Resolution
  • Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
  • Residential Conveyancing
  • Family, Children & Divorce Law
  • Employment Law

MBH’s prices are competitive and fixed fees can be offered where appropriate.

Contact MBH Solicitors on 01942 206060 or by e-mail to  For further information please visit our website


What is an option agreement and how can it benefit you?

What is an option agreement?

An option agreement is a contract between the landowner and a potential purchaser / developer of the land or property, which grant the purchaser / developer an option to purchase the land / property at anytime during an agreed ‘option period’ in return for an ‘option fee’.

When is an option agreement used?

Option agreements are used where a purchaser / developer is interested in purchasing a property / land for residential and/or commercial development and it is common for the purchaser / developer to use the option period to apply for and secure any necessary planning permissions required to proceed with their development, in addition to any finance.

Are there any benefits of an option agreement?

Yes. There are many benefits for both the landowner and the purchaser/developer:


  • A landowner can secure the final purchase price. If the value of the property decreases before the option agreement comes to an end, this will not affect the seller – the price agreed will remain (subject to the clauses stated in the agreement)
  • The landowner can continue to use the property during the option period
  • The purchaser/landowner is liable to pay the cost of obtaining any planning permission / surveyors during the option period


  • A purchaser/developer can secure the final purchase price. It can be negotiated that the buyer pays the agreed purchase price, even if the value of the property increases during the option period
  • A purchaser/developer has time to instruct surveyors / architects, apply for planning permission and / or raise finance during the option period
  • An option agreement prevents the landowner from selling the land / property to anybody else during the option period

What are the risks?

Planning permission may not be granted to the purchaser / developer to develop the land. In this case, the purchaser / developer is unlikely to exercise their option to purchase the land / property within the option period, therefore a sale is not guaranteed at the end of the option period.

This is a risk for the seller as they will be entering into an agreement for a number of years, restricting the landowner from selling the property / land to any other potential purchaser / developer, without the guarantee of a sale at the end of the option period.

Careful consideration must be given when drafting and negotiating Option agreements. It is strongly recommended that any buyer or seller works with a trusted commercial property solicitor.

For further information, please contact Gemma Eastham, Commercial Property Solicitor at MBH Solicitors who will be pleased to assist you: Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.

Landlords need to be aware – Plans to abolish Section 21 evictions

The government intend to abolish section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (also known as ‘no fault’ repossessions).

What is a section 21 notice?

A section 21 notice allows a landlord to evict a tenant from the property without providing an explanation.

A tenant may not have caused the landlord any problems, however, a landlord can serve a section 21 notice on the tenant during a periodic tenancy (no fixed end-date) or at the end of a fixed term tenancy (a written agreement with a fixed end-date). A landlord must provide at least two months’ notice.

A landlord may want to remove a tenant from a property for many reasons, such as renovating the property, sale of the property or the landlord may wish to occupy the property.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) say that landlords should be able to use a Section 8 possession notice to evict a tenant who has broken the terms of their tenancy, for example by not paying rent or causing damage to the property.

This usually involves the landlord paying money to take the matter to court, if the tenant refuses to leave the property.

NLA say that landlords have been forced to use section 21 notices’ because they had ‘no confidence’ in courts to deal with a possession claim (breach of tenancy) quickly.

Will the proposed changes effect landlords?

If the changes are implemented, landlords will have to provide a concrete, evidenced-based reason already specified in law, in order to bring a tenancy to an end.

The government insist that landlords will be able to repossess their property for different reasons, specified in law, and in genuine cases, however the changes will protect responsible tenants from unfair evictions and unethical behaviour.

Shelter, a charity which helps people struggling with bad housing or homelessness, said the proposals would “transform lives”.

If you are a landlord and you would like to be notified if and when any of these changes come in to force, please do not hesitate to contact Gemma Eastham, Commercial Property Solicitor, at MBH Solicitors who will be pleased to assist: Tel: 01942 206060 Address: 26 Bridgeman Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TD.