Clause 145 — Home Condition Reports

Part of Orders of the Day — Housing Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:15 pm on 8th November 2004.

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Photo of Robert Syms Robert Syms Shadow Minister (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) 8:15 pm, 8th November 2004

This is an important part of the Bill; it is just a pity that we are here at five minutes to midnight debating such important detail. I wish to put a number of questions to the Minister.

The proposal to have a register of approved surveyors or inspectors is sensible because people can check the register to see whether the person is qualified. One of the major concerns in Committee was whether the supply of surveyors or inspectors would be sufficient, so having a register also seems reasonable on those grounds. My question is whether the register will be broken down into regions or counties. There could be a surplus of surveyors in the north-west, with other areas having a deficiency, which could affect the ability to produce home condition reports within a reasonable time frame. It would be helpful to have a breakdown of surveyors and inspectors, including where they live.

The Minister made several points about the home condition report—for example, whether it should have a reference number or be put on the internet and what the controls should be. My hon. Friends have raised a number of concerns about those issues. If the information is too restricted, there is a danger of missing some opportunities. Will the register of home condition reports be made available to those who are registered inspectors or surveyors? If a home has been sold four times and had four home condition reports, the logical starting point for a surveyor would be to look at the last four reports on the home to see whether there had been any problems in the past. It seems silly to start from a blank sheet of paper when, first, there is a shortage of surveyors and, secondly, the home to be inspected has already been inspected many times.