In a world where the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is trying to make the home buying process “quicker, cheaper and less stressful”, what is clear is that presently, especially when it comes to leasehold properties, we are still not quite at the races.

By that, I mean that the very start of the home buying process and how what happens at this point, essentially determines what is going to happen until the point of exchange and completion.

It is often a major source of frustration for conveyancers, particularly in the context of a leasehold property, that we may not only not be able to source the information required about certain terms and charges that come with the leasehold, but also the considerable amount of time it takes for us to source this information, which of course we can only do if we are able to ascertain where we can get the information from in the first place.

This leads me to the very start of the process and the importance of providing clear, upfront and accurate information that can be relied upon by all parties to the transaction and can help to ensure that some of the current problems and delays experienced are effectively stopped at source.

The issue of delivering quality upfront information has been raised before and the Home Information Pack (HIPs) were subsequently introduced.   Such is the political antipathy towards HIPs that if certain professionals never heard the word again it would probably be too soon.  However, that is not to say that the premise behind the HIPs was not a good one and many feel it was just lacking the technology necessary to deliver the benefits which were intended.

The way forward would seem to be some form of property log book, which the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government seem to be particularly supportive of, although it will never be referred to as a HIP!   I would suspect that this will contain all of the upfront information required to sell a property and will thus ensure that all information is in place prior to a property being sold which will assist in speeding up the process and ensuring that any problems or missing information is identified early on.

In reality, this really should be the norm anyway.  Anyone marketing a property should be complying with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, but historically they simply have not. It is therefore going to need Government intervention to get us to a point where, regardless of the name, the industry is able to provide upfront information which will go a long way to providing a solution to many of the issues faced.

For further information about selling or buying a property, or to discuss any other aspect of residential conveyancing, please contact Thursfields Head of New Homes, Louise Jones, on 0121 796 4021 or at ljones@thursfields.co.uk

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