Despite widespread opposition, the Government is pressing ahead with controversial and confusing plans to introduce home information packs meaning that householders will have to pay up to £600 to put up a ‘for sale’ sign, or else be fined by the local council. Yet in the latest twist of this long running saga, the Packs will only be compulsory for four bedroom homes from 1 August 2007, and then phased in for three bedroom homes at an unspecified date, and then all homes at some point.
The small print of the new Government regulations defines a four bedroom home as a property which is just “marketed” as a four bedroom home. Hilariously, this means that a house which is simply advertised as having “3 bedrooms and a spare room” would not need to spend hundreds of pounds on a Pack so a home owner could just move the bed out of the bedroom to comply with the letter of the regulations. There will be no fall in the potential value of that home if buyers realise that “3 bedrooms and a spare room” is just language for a home with “4 bedrooms” being used to avoid a Pack.
It is quite clear that the Government’s plans for Home Information Packs are turning into a Whitehall farce. Just by moving a bed out of one of your bedrooms will avoid the need for family homes to pay for these expensive and unwanted Packs. Moving home is one of the most stressful things anyone can do. Yet this new red tape threatens to make it worse, not better and I fear these new regulations will cause public confusion and undermine the stability of the housing market. If Gordon Brown wants to distance himself from the last administration he should scrap this chaotic bureaucracy.