Clause 137 — Duty to have a home information pack
Orders of the Day — Housing Bill
Mr John Hayes (Shadow Minister, Local and Devolved Government Affairs; South Holland and The Deepings, Conservative)
I will address both those points, on speed and the quality of information that people receive, in my brief remarks. The hon. Gentleman's point on the Consumers Association is a fair one, and as ever, he makes a good argument. It is a great pity that the Minister, in the full half an hour for which he spoke, was not able to cite it himself, as it was considerably more persuasive than any that he made.
The Minister said that the sellers packs are in response to popular demand, and that the market is not working. I am not convinced. The amendment goes to the heart of the contention over sellers packs. What is the position of the other place, and what is the Government's position? The Government say that everyone will be obliged, by law, despite the run-in period to which the Minister refers, to spend up to £1,000 when selling a house, regardless of the value of that house. In return, they will gain a sellers pack. Let us imagine someone who puts a modest house worth, say, £60,000 or £70,000 on the market, and who must then withdraw it from the market and re-market it some time later. We have no assurance from the Minister that the sellers packs will last any great time. We are told, as the other place debated at some length, that they may be valid for as little as three months. In the scenario that I just described, the person would have to purchase two sellers packs costing up to £2,000 for the sale of a £60,000 house that they might not sell anyway.