Homeowners unaware of government proposals for change

16 June 2003
Most homeowners are unaware of the government's plans to make changes to the home buying process, according to a new survey.

Government proposals for the home buying process in England and Wales, outlined in the Housing Bill, include the introduction of controversial Home Information Packs (HIPs).

This is not the first time the HIPs, or Sellers Packs, have been debated in Parliament. Before the 2001 election the Homes Bill, which also contained Sellers Pack requirements, almost became law but was curtailed when the election was called.

The latest Legal & General Moving Intentions Survey found that two thirds of homeowners who will be affected by the changes are 'blissfully unaware that a process that has remained largely unchanged for over one hundred years is due for a radical overhaul as early as 2006.'

The Housing Bill is currently out for consultation but is expected to commence its parliamentary process later this year.

The Legal & General study found that over half (55 per cent) of people surveyed believed that the packs would benefit only buyers, while 12 per cent felt that only sellers would benefit. Just 23 per cent felt that both parties would welcome the changes.

The increased cost of moving home that the packs will cause will fall on the sellers. The government will have to work hard to persuade homeowners that they will benefit from the introduction of HIPs.

The Government's hope is that certainty over a housing transaction can be gained earlier in the process leading to fewer failed transactions and less wasted cost.

Government estimates put this cost at £250 million a year paid by homemovers to solicitors and surveyors for work done on transactions that fall through.

Homeowners see the responsibility of educating the public about the proposed changes as falling on the government (41 per cent) and estate agents (37 per cent).

Stephen Smith, Legal & General's Director of Housing Marketing commented, 'When many people next move home they are in for a big shock and probably a good deal of confusion, as the process will be very different to last time.

'The Housing Bill is the most radical piece of legislation to hit homeowners in a generation so it is worrying that so few are even aware of it.'