Home reports: a year of change for house sellers and buyers

On the first anniversary of the introduction of Home Reports for house sales, Trading Standards Officers at The Highland Council are reporting a relatively smooth implementation of the new regime in the North.

The Highland Council’s Trading Standards Officers have been working with the Law Society and local estate agents/solicitors to ensure potential house buyers receive the information they need under the Home Reports legislation, introduced last year.

Home Reports are intended to give buyers comprehensive information about a house and consist of three parts: a single survey, an energy performance certificate (EPC) and a property questionnaire. Since 1 December 2008, anyone marketing a house for sale must ensure that a Home Report has been produced for the property. 

Principal Trading Standards Officer Bob Jones explained: “The single survey is a comprehensive analysis of the condition of the house, while the EPC assesses its environmental impact. Both of these are carried out by appropriately-qualified professionals. The property questionnaire is completed by the owner of the house and contains information about such matters as alterations made to the property and parking arrangements.

He added: “We have had a number of enquiries from local agents and solicitors about Home Reports.  As with all new laws, some detailed points of interpretation needed to be clarified.  We have also carried out visits to over 70 selling agents in the Highlands and have been pleased with the level of co-operation we have encountered.  After initial scepticism in some parts of the profession, Home Reports are now firmly part of the house buying process.”

And it is not only selling agents who must ensure that a Home Report is provided.  With private sales such as those through newspaper “small ads”, the house owner must provide a Home Report to prospective buyers.

Mr Jones said: “Remember, if you are selling your house, you or your agent must ensure that there is a Home Report.  If you are in the process of buying, make sure you see a copy of the full Home Report before making any decision to buy.”

If you have any queries about Home Reports, or wish to report a possible breach of the requirements, please contact Trading Standards on 01463 228700 or trading.standards@highland.gov.uk

30 Nov 2009