Rumours abound that next week’s Queen’s Speech will contain measures to ease the sale of property in England and outlaw gazumping.
Gazumping – i.e. to make an offer to purchase a property that is higher than someone whose offer has already been accepted by the vendor, thus acquiring the property – is a problem for many, particularly in hot markets where competition is fierce. Consequently it is welcome news that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) is soon to consult on proposals to simplify the buying and selling of residential property.
However, if the rumours are to be believed the ‘simplification’ is to be focussed on making the process binding at a much earlier stage with the possibility of making vendors responsible for carrying out many of the required checks early in the marketing process.
The problem is that, although simplification and acceleration of the process is to be warmly welcomed, this sounds a little too reminiscent of the HIPS (Home Information Packs) debacle.
For those who don’t recall, or have deliberately blocked the experience from their minds, HIPs were introduced in 2007 and scrapped in May 2010 shortly after the election of the Coalition.
To quote then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles:
“The expensive and unnecessary home information pack has increased the cost and hassle of selling homes and is stifling a fragile housing market”.
“That is why I am taking emergency action to suspend the Hip, bringing down the cost of selling a home and removing unnecessary regulation from the home buying process”.
Of course lessons will have been learned, and there is no reason to believe that the same mistakes will be made this time around – but we will be watching the development of this policy with interest…..