A draft Housing Bill incorporating the introduction of Sellers Packs was highlighted in last week’s Queen’s Speech, detailing proposed legislation for the Parliamentary session.
Sellers Packs work on the principle that better communication and early availability of relevant details will lead to faster sales and reduce gazumping. Legislation was included in a Homes Bill during the last parliament, but was abandoned after it ran out of time.
Hugh Dunsmore-Hardy, chair-man of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), said: ‘It was always a matter of when, not if, the packs would be introduced. The important part will be in the details of the Bill. That will show whether the Government has listened to the concerns raised by the NAEA.
‘Our main problem with the packs was delays in the speed in which a property could be brought to the market and the criminalising of those who did not have a pack in place.’
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said it was important not to overstate the potential impact of Sellers Packs, and to recognise they are not a panacea.
It said other initiatives, such as the National Land Inform- ation Service (NLIS) and e-conveyancing, were likely to have a greater impact on speeding up the house-buying process.
Peter Williams, deputy director general of the CML, added: ‘Sellers Packs may have a part to play in providing more up-front information to buyers ‘ albeit at a potential cost.
‘However, they are far from the most important new initiative to speed up transactions. Setting targets and providing funding to get the NLIS up to full effectiveness and implement e-conveyancing should be the most urgent priorities.’
Legal & General (L&G) said the news should force the housing industry to start planning for their arrival regardless of opinions about their merits.
Stephen Smith, director of housing marketing at L&G, said: ‘The time for discussion is over. The industry will be driven to develop quickly the systems and processes to administer Sellers Packs if it is to meet the 2005/06 introduction date.’