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Government to set 10-day timeline for local authority searches

A timeline of 10 days is to be set for local authority searches, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has announced.

The move is part of a package of measures aimed at improving the house buying process, professionalising the estate agent market and bringing an end to ‘rogue managing agents’, the Government said.

These measures include:

  • requiring estate agents to hold a professional qualification
  • requiring estate agents to be transparent about the fees they receive for referring clients to solicitors, surveyors and mortgage brokers
  • encouraging the use of voluntary reservation agreements to help prevent sales falling through and crack down on gazumping
  • requiring managing agents and freeholders to provide up-to-date lease information for a set fee and to an agreed timetable “which will end the current situation where leaseholders are at the mercy of freeholders and their agents”
  • strengthening the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team so they can carry out more enforcement activity which includes banning agents

Javid said: “Buying a home is one of the biggest and most important purchases someone will make in their life. But for far too long buyers and sellers have been trapped in a stressful system full of delays and uncertainty.

“So we’re going to put the consumers back in the driving seat. We will require estate agents to hold a qualification so that people are no longer at risk from a minority of ‘rogue agents’ and can trust the process when buying or selling their home.”