The new measures provide improved protection for those who rely on information provided in search reports.
Taking the decision to “enhance the Code and the way it is enforced” CoPSO, who own and maintain the Search Code, together with the PCCB, which carries out monitoring and enforcement of the Code, introduced the new measures following the passing of the Localism Act on 17th November.
The Localism Act revokes Part 5 of the Housing Act 2004 and, as standards for searches no longer exist on the statute books, CoPSO and the PCCB’s enhancements will ensure that both consumers and their representatives are able to easily identify a mark of quality, ensuring they can remain confident when relying on searches during the home buying process.
The PCCB’s regulation of the Code now has a “more robust application and renewal process” with an increase in the physical inspection regime. These measures make certain that best practice is adhered to and that any subscribers found to be in breach will find themselves subject to enforcement action.
Chaiman of CoPSO, James Sherwood-Rogers, commented:
“With the repeal of Housing Act it was essential that the Code and its enforcement be strengthened to provide further reassurances to all those that rely on the information search reports provide. Search reports form a vital element of the home buying process and both consumers and their lawyers need to have total confidence in the information that they are presented with. We would strongly urge both consumers and those within the property profession, who rely on search information, to always ensure that any search provider they use is a Code subscriber. That way, they can have total confidence in the product and the service that they will receive.”
Chairman of the PCCB, Andrew McIlwraith, added:
“The recent changes we have introduced simply enhance an already robust set of principles that all subscribers adhere to. All Code subscribers undergo a rigorous application and renewal process and are monitored to ensure consistently high standards. The Search Code logo acts as a real stamp of quality and we hope that the enhancements we have introduced will only help to strengthen our role in ensuring the continued delivery of high standards and on-going consumer protection.”
Having been first introduced in 2006, the Search Code ensures protection for mortgage lenders, homebuyers, sellers, conveyancers and estate agents who rely on the results of property searches, setting out minimum standards which must be met by organisations compiling and selling search reports.
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