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Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Sellers' packs delayed until 2004
Bristol skyline
The government piloted sellers' packs in Bristol
The government has reasserted its commitment to sellers' packs - a scheme aimed at making house buying quicker and less risky - but admitted that they may not be introduced until at least 2004.

Legislation to introduce sellers' packs, which put the onus on the vendor to assemble documentation such as a property survey and local authority search, ran out of time because of the election.

The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) is currently working on improvement to the packs, and is looking for a "slot" to propose legislation.

But even if legislation is passed before the summer recess, the government said that it could be until 2004 before the scheme is up and running nationwide.

Seller's saga

There has been concern that the government had got cold feet over the proposal, after it ran into opposition from estate agents and MPs.

Speculation mounted when it was dropped from the Queen's speech, but the government has said that it is committed to the change.

The DTLR says it is currently working on ways of "streamlining and upgrading" the packs.

The introduction of a new bill before Christmas is said to be out of the question - and it may not be until the end of the parliamentary year before a suitable "slot" is found.

Concerns

However, new legislation is likely to reflect earlier criticisms.

There had been concern that sellers' packs could make it impossible for owners in poorer areas to sell up and that smaller estate agents could lose out.

Although sellers' packs will still be compulsory, there will be a concession for areas where there is "low demand housing".

And the packs are only likely to cost between 360 and 400, rather than the up to 750 feared.

See also:

20 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Boost for home buyers
08 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Government moves to placate MPs
22 Sep 00 | Business
Concern grows over 'sellers' packs'
13 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Homes Bill attacked
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