Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Home Reports - new way of selling your house becomes law
FROM 1 December 2008, houses for sale in Scotland have to be marketed with a Home Report. The Home Report contains three documents, a Single Survey, an Energy Report and a Property Questionnaire. This is a new way for buying and selling properties in Scotland. The aim of the new law is to make buyers better informed about the property they are about to buy and assist them to make a more informed choice.
The Energy Report gives buyers an energy rating of the property on sale, showing how energy efficient the house is and gives them an opportunity to consider if they purchase the home would they wish to improve the energy efficiency of the home at a later date. The Energy report also gives potential buyers an idea on how much it may cost them to heat the property. Energy efficiency is a very important element considering the cost of fuel and the long-term environmental cost. The Property Questionnaire provides a whole range of answers to questions any potential buyer may wish to address before deciding whether to buy the property or not.
The law applies to anyone marketing a house from 1 December 2008. If the property has been on the market prior to that date, it is not subject to a Home Report. However, if the house is still on the market on 4 January 2009, then an Energy Performance certificate will be required.
The person responsible for making sure the house on sale has a Home Report is the person marketing the property who is also responsible for ensuring that a copy of the report is supplied to any prospective buyer that requests it. A seller can only refuse to provide a Home Report in limited circumstances. These include instances where the seller reasonably believes that the person making a request could not afford the house, has no real intention in buying the house, or that the person making the request is not a person the seller would wish to the sell the house to but this should not be on the grounds of unlawful discrimination.
The seller has to provide the home report free to a buyer but may decide to make a reasonable charge for photocopying or postage. The buyer’s request for a copy of the home report has to be met within a period of nine days. Failure to do so may be reported to Trading Standards who have been tasked with enforcing the law of Home Reports.
The Home Report should be no more than twelve weeks old when the house is placed on the market and if a house with a Home Report is withdrawn from the market for no more than 28 days, it won’t need a new Home report. The cost of a Single Survey or Energy report is set by the different surveying Companies and sellers are advised like in any other transaction to shop around and to consider different quotes before agreeing to a set price.
Councillor Peter Convery (pictured above) who is responsible for Trading Standards issues stated: “Buying a house is probably the single most expensive and most important purchase a person can make in a lifetime, and therefore getting it right is very important. The new law makes house buyers more informed and confident in what they are buying. Our Trading Standards service will provide all the advice and information that is necessary for sellers to meet their obligations under the new law and for potential buyers on what they are entitled to as information.”
Anyone needing information on the new law or any other Trading Standards matter should contact the South Ayrshire Trading Standards Advice Centre in confidence at 5-7 River Terrace, Ayr or call Ayr 61 60 60. Information and advice on Trading Standards issues can also be obtained on www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards
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