As from 1 June 2007 no property can be marketed without a Home Information Pack being made available to prospective buyers. The Government has watered down its initial requirements and the packs will no longer need to contain a Home Condition Report, with the result that the content of the pack will be very largely legal in nature. In particular, it will have to contain results of searches, any planning consents and building regulations approvals, final inspection certificates and an energy efficiency report. The net effect of the pack will be that owners of properties will have to think ahead when contemplating selling a property if a delay in putting it on the market is to be avoided.

The market is full of companies vying with each other to provide packs and it is likely that a number of estate agents may well seek to do so. Given the legal content of the pack, we believe it is generally in the best interests of prospective sellers to see their solicitor as the first port of call. This would provide the added bonus of avoiding any dispute over ownership of the Home Information Pack (even though the regulations state that it belongs to the home-owner) if the seller decides to change estate agents, as often happens. At the time of writing, trial runs of sales with Home Information Packs are under way and there will no doubt be increasing media interest as the start date nears. We will be able to prepare the pack for you and, if we have acted on the purchase of the property, may well have much of the information already to hand.