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Housing: Sales

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 24WS, on home buying and selling, who the members are of the stakeholder panel. (243719)

The membership of the Home buying stakeholder advisory panel, chaired by the Housing Minister, currently comprises:

The Law Society, Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), Association of Home information Pack Providers (AHIPP), Council of Property Search Organisations ((CoPSO), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Which?, Local Government Association (LGA), Land Registry, Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) and Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 8 December 2008, Official Report, columns 24-26WS, on home buying and selling, what the evidential basis was on which the decision to end first day marketing on 6 April 2009 was made. (243720)

It is the Government's policy that HIPs should be available on the first day of marketing. The temporary concession to the policy served a valuable role in smoothing the introduction of HIPs. However, evidence from our area trials, consumer focus groups and gathered through our on-going monitoring of HIPs indicates that consumers are not being shown the HIP and that is in part due to the temporary exemption from the policy. Our decision is also supported by research from Europe Economics, which shows that HIPs have no impact on house prices or transactions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 24WS, on home buying and selling, what the penalties are for a seller giving misleading or incorrect information on a property information questionnaire in a home information pack. (243857)

Where the seller gives misleading or incorrect information in the PIQ this may constitute misrepresentation and could lead to the buyer rescinding the contract where the buyer has relied on this information, as is currently the case where similar information is given verbally.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 24WS, on home buying and selling, in what ways from April 2009 estate agents will be able to advise buyers about properties they expect to be coming onto the market soon which do not have a completed home information pack. (243859)

A home information pack is only required where action is taken with the intention of marketing a particular property. That is the current position and will still be the position in April 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 24WS, on home buying and selling, who the members of the working group convened by the Land Registry are; what its terms of reference are; and when it will be required to report. (243860)

My right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing announced in the written ministerial statement of 8 December that:

“I have asked Ted Beardsall, former Deputy Chief Executive of the Land Registry, to convene a working group to consider how these (property searches) might be made simpler and more easy to use”.

The membership of this group and its terms of reference will be agreed in the new year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 24WS, on home buying and selling, who produced the survey on the 16,000 transactions; and if she will place a full copy of the survey research in the Library. (243861)

The survey was carried out by the Connells Group and reported in their press notice dated 13 October 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 24WS, on home buying and selling, who the members of the working group on home condition reports will be; what its terms of reference are; and when it will be required to report. (243862)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 24WS, on home buying and selling, what obligation owners will have to mention in the home information pack that their home is subject to flood risk; and whether sellers will have the right to omit this information. (243863)

The home information pack will include a Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ) from 6 April 2009. Prospective sellers are required to complete a PIQ, which contains two questions relating to flood risk.