Home sellers must have a confirmed Home Information Pack (HIP) in place before a property is put on the market, Margaret Beckett has confirmed.
The Housing Minister says it is essential buyers are able to see information in the HIP as soon as possible.
Currently sellers can commission and pay for a HIP and then start marketing a property for up to 28 days before the pack is available, meaning some buyers may lose out by making decisions about purchases without the benefit of seeing the pack.
The move, which comes into force from 6 April, is part of a raft of measures announced by Beckett yesterday designed to ensure consumers receive improved information in the home buying and selling process.
Others include a Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ) which will provide a summary of information about the property in one place including flood risk information, gas and electricity safety, service charges, structural damage, and parking arrangements.
"It is essential all buyers are able to see the HIP as early as possible to ensure they are benefiting from this important information, and that sellers are getting to see the pack they are paying for," Beckett says.
She adds the latest figures on HIPs show consumers are already benefiting from their introduction. According to Beckett, more than one million homes now have energy ratings as a result of HIPs, helping home owners to potentially save money on their fuel bills and cut carbon emissions.
Additionally, she says greater competition in the property searches market is also leading to reductions in costs with some local authorities reducing their search fees by up to £120.IFAonline
Achievements, charity work and other happy snippets
Laughable excuses for persisting
Spent 56 years at Schroders
Warns on profits