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Criminal sanctions on packs are axed

Criminal sanctions have been dropped from the Government&#39s proposals for seller&#39s packs in favour of a civil regime.

The move by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is in response to heavy industry lobbying.

It has been welcomed by companies such Charcol, Legal & General and lobbying group Seller&#39s Pack Law Is Not The Answer, which says it is too Draconian for someone to get a criminal record for trying to sell their home.

The planned criminal sanctions for a vendor not having a seller&#39s pack once they become mandatory from 2006, which could have led to a year in jail, attracted “strong opposition” according to the ODPM.

It says it has not decided the detail of the civil regime as the seller&#39s packs are still to pass through Parliament and another period of consultation next year but it will apply to bodies such as estate agents rather than individuals.

Charcol senior technical manager Ray Boulger says: “This is good news as one of the key arguments against the seller&#39s packs was that sanctions should be civil and not criminal. This will reduce some of the criticism.”

An ODPM spokeswoman says: “In recognition of strong opposition, it has been decided that all regulations will be based on civil sanctions.”

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