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Homebuyer's Search Fee To Be Abolished

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From the horse's mouth

http://www.communities.gov.uk/newsstories/newsroom/1656418

New steps to cut the cost of moving home and open up the books

Home buyers can access more information about their new home without having to pay for the information, the Government announced.

The law is being changed to stop people being charged a £22 fee for a personal search of the Local Land Charges Register. This move is intended to make key environmental information more accessible to the public.

These land searches tell a home buyer about restrictions or issues that affect the property, such as planning conditions, conservation areas and protected trees.

The new Government has already suspended costly and bureaucratic Home Information Packs. Today's move will further help reduce costs for home buyers.

Making sure that this information can be accessed free of charge is part of the Government's wider drive for 'open data' to make public sector information more transparent and accessible to the public online. Local councils are in the forefront of this agenda to increase accountability and open up the books.

Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, said:

"Moving home is difficult and stressful, and the new Government wants to make it easier. We've already taken steps to scrap Home Information Packs, and now we are cutting the cost of researching the detail about your new home.

"This shows in practice how freeing up public sector data and opening up the books can benefit the whole economy, by cutting transaction costs and increasing competition."

Today's measures are being introduced to ensure compliance with European law which requires examination of environmental information on site to be free of charge.

And from the Grauniad

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/jul/30/homebuyers-search-fee-abolished

A £22 fee homebuyers must pay to find out about issues or restrictions that may affect a property is being abolished, the government has announced.

The fixed fee is charged for a personal search of a council's local land charges register, but it is a cost homebuyers should no longer have to face, the communities and local government department said.

The land searches tell people about potential issues affecting the property – for example, if the house is in a conservation area and it would make getting permission for an extension difficult, or if there is a protected tree that cannot be cut down.

Until now, legislation stated that a £22 fixed fee should be charged for this information when an individual inspects the records in person. But the law is now being changed to stop people being charged in order to ensure compliance with European regulations relating to "environmental information". These state that checking this type of information in person should be free of charge.

A spokeswoman for the department said that while the law had not yet been amended, its advice to local authorities was that "this should be free from now". She said there were 736,000 property transactions in England last year, and if this charge had not been in place homebuyers could have saved as much as £16.2m.

The coalition government has already suspended "costly and bureaucratic" home information packs, and this move will further help reduce costs for homebuyers, it said.

Housing minister, Grant Shapps, said: "This shows in practice how freeing up public sector data and opening up the books can benefit the whole economy by cutting transaction costs and increasing competition."

The government is liaising with councils and the Local Government Association to provide guidance on the changes, and dealing with the financial impact of removing the fee on local authority finances.

Do they really think this will help? Do they believe that people have been holding off buying houses because they can't afford the £22 fee?

Also, how in the world does this "increase competition"? I genuinely can't work that one out.

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From the horse's mouth

http://www.communities.gov.uk/newsstories/newsroom/1656418

And from the Grauniad

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/jul/30/homebuyers-search-fee-abolished

Do they really think this will help? Do they believe that people have been holding off buying houses because they can't afford the £22 fee?

Also, how in the world does this "increase competition"? I genuinely can't work that one out.

It will be interesting to see if it is both free and online. Many prospective viewers may be put off even bothering if they discover that a motorway extension is likely to pass close to their potential back yard.

p-o-p

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<p>

It will be interesting to see if it is both free and online. Many prospective viewers may be put off even bothering if they discover that a motorway extension is likely to pass close to their potential back yard.

p-o-p

Another small nail in the coffin for some of the property VIs though. I am sure there is small but thriving industry in producing search documents for solicitors. Normally the solicitor would do the search, but recently I have noticed they outsource this bit.

As you will still need to do a search, either you can do it yourself (and take the risk) or you pay someone to do it and they can be sued (assuming they are not bankrupt or out of business) if something goes wrong.

Of course the reports they produce are generally worthless and just printouts from a mapping website. Next stop, maximum fixed surveyors fees.</p>

Edited by Mikhail Liebenstein

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Do they really think this will help? Do they believe that people have been holding off buying houses because they can't afford the £22 fee?

Also, how in the world does this "increase competition"? I genuinely can't work that one out.

It won't really make a difference to if you want to buy *a* house, but given two similar houses it'll help you choose one over the other - there's the competition.

It may be only £22 for one house, but how many houses do you look at before finding one you like? And do many people actually do this search themselves or is it included in the surveyor/solictor fees & charges (with a markup no doubt).

It's great, the more info we have like this and the LR prices & Property Bee etc. the less power EAs have.

I like the way the government is trying to make it look like it was its idea when actually it's a EU thing, as mentioned in the article.

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Sounds like a great idea to me.

I want to know as much as possible about a house before even considering making an offer.

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Sounds like a great idea to me.

I want to know as much as possible about a house before even considering making an offer.

Yep

I reckon it'll help buyers be better-informed at first viewing, and if anything will help to make first offers more realistic. Got to be good news.

edit: if they also make the Land Registry data free then I'll be a lot happier about the abolition of HIPS :)

Edited by Mal Volio

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Yep

I reckon it'll help buyers be better-informed at first viewing, and if anything will help to make first offers more realistic. Got to be good news.

I've no doubt it will be a good thing for buyers. I'm just not sure it will increase their number.

And I love the spin they put on doing something they have to do anyway because the EU says so. Talk about making a virtue of necessity.

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Do these details include situations where there have been previous ongoing disputes or legal issues with neighbours etc?

According to Epping Forest Distrcit Council http://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/Council_Services/land_charges/

"The Local Land Charges Register consists of twelve parts. The following are examples of the types of information or 'charges' that might be found on the Local Land Charges Register:

Financial Charges: detailing amounts of money that are due to the Local Authority, usually these amounts have been incurred as a result of works carried out by the Council in default.

Conservation Areas: These areas have been designated by the authority as areas containing special architectural or historic interest. Obviously it is desirable to preserve or enhance these areas.

This designation gives additional controls over new buildings or demolition works. The Conservation Area designation also helps to protect trees. Therefore before carrying out any works to trees within a Conservation Area contact the Planning Office for advice.

Smoke Control Orders Only certain approved types of fuel can be used in Smoke Control Areas e.g. smokeless coal.

In addition to the registrable items revealed on the Local Land Charges Register a potential purchaser will also wish to know of any notices about to be served on the property which will become binding upon any new purchaser upon completion.

To cover these important but non-registrable items the questionnaire form CON29R is available."

Disputes with neighbours, I gather, have to be declared by the vendor.

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edit: if they also make the Land Registry data free then I'll be a lot happier about the abolition of HIPS :)

That would be tricky, the Land Registry has been self funded since Mrs Thatcher's days and I believe that they are not allowed to cross subsidise services. Other wise part of your registration fee would be paying for someone else's office copies.

When the register of land was private to the owner only, office copies and searches were free. (Edit: For a while anyways)

Edited by Driver

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  • 259 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • up 5%



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