(2) with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 6 November 2006, Official Report, column 875W, on home inspectors, what assessment his Department has made of the effects on the job opportunities of people who have trained to become home inspectors of the decision to implement home condition reports on a voluntary basis;
(3) how many (a) people have trained to become home inspectors and (b) home condition reports have been commissioned on a voluntary basis since the implementation of home information pack regulations;
(4) with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 6 November 2006, Official Report, column 875W, on home inspectors, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of voluntary roll-out of home condition reports; and if he will make a statement.
The home condition report (HCR) remains authorised for inclusion in the home information pack (HIP) on a voluntary basis and certificated home inspectors are accredited to produce domestic energy performance certificates (EPCs) which are a required component of the home information pack. No such assessment of the job opportunities of home inspectors has been made.
Communities and Local Government does not hold information on the number of people who have paid fees to train as home inspectors, or the number of people who have undertaken or are undertaking such training. The most recent figure supplied to us by the national EPC and HCR register operator, shows that there are 971 certificated home inspectors as of 4 January 2010. This figure may include duplicate numbers of those home inspectors who have registered with more than one certification scheme.
Although since the decision in July 2006 to make the HCR an authorised rather than required document, we continued to promote the benefits of including an HCR within a HIP. However, take-up has been disappointing with only 327 reports lodged on the central register since 1 August 2007 and it is clear that the product as it stands is not seen as the right one either by consumers or industry.
We still believe that consumers should be better informed about any property they are looking to buy before making what is undoubtedly one of the biggest purchases of their lives and that they want information about the condition of homes before they commit to buying them. As a result Margaret Beckett established the Working Group on condition information in the home buying and selling process to explore options for ensuring consumers receive appropriate information about a property's condition before they commit to buy, by building on existing products such as the HCR, and creating opportunities for all practitioners including home inspectors.