Government to consider outlawing gazumping

The point at which a house move becomes legal could be moved forward in England and Wales in an effort to stop 200,000 transactions from collapsing each year.

The National Association of Estate Agents say they have been feeding in to the Department for Business Skills and Innovation over plans to improve England and Wales’s house purchase system with suggestions the point at which a sale becomes legal could be brought forward to the point an offer is accepted, in line with Scotland’s.

Mark Hayward, managing director at the NAEA, told the Telegraph: “The English system for buying and selling property dates back to the 1920s and has not been updated for nearly 100 years. It is an archaic system which doesn’t allow for modern technology. It needs updating to allow for as much work to be done before the point of offer as possible.”

It comes ahead of a call for evidence on reforming the housing market as mentioned in the budget. According to the treasury, £270 million is lost on failed transactions each year. BIS policymakers have so far met with several organisations including the Conveyancing Association.

Beth Rudolf, Director of Delivery at the CA said: “Gazumping is a tricky one as sellers of repossessed or probate or trust property, for example, are under an obligation to get the best price possible, so sometimes have to accept a gazumping offer from another buyer.

“Giving certainty earlier in the process is however a common goal of all stakeholders and an approved lock-out agreement or sale by tender arrangement could be another option. The CA will certainly be exploring all options as part of the ongoing efforts to create a positive house moving experience for all.”

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