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Sellers' packs back on Parliamentary agenda

13 January 2004
The Government began its second attempt to introduce requirements for “sellers' packs” to be produced by people selling houses yesterday.

The Housing Bill, which includes the measure received its Second Reading in the House of Commons. Housing Minister Keith Hill declared that the packs would help alleviate the “shambles” experienced by many in buying and selling property.

A sellers' pack would have to set out information about a property for sale, including the results of a basic survey, that would have to be carried out by the seller or his or her estate agent.

Sellers' packs were a manifesto commitment for Labour in 1997 and 2001. The last attempt to get them onto the statute book failed because the Parliamentary process was not completed before the 2001 election.

Mr Hill insisted that the Government is consulting widely on the packs, and promised a “phased introduction”. He also argued that the likely cost of preparing sellers' packs has been “wildly exaggerated.”

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats both opposed the plans during the debate.

However, a spokesperson for the Consumers' Association told the BBC, “We believe that the housing market does not function in a sufficiently fair way and welcome any initiative to promote higher standards while ensuring that consumers drive the market, not just the industry and their vested interests.

"From the consumers' point of view the current way in which we buy and sell homes is hopeless as the system is very opaque.”

Sellers' packs are likely to cost vendors somewhere in the region of £600 - although Mr Hill declined to comment during the debate.