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).
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.
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.
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.