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Govt eyes ‘gazumping’ ban on house sales

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The Government is considering banning gazumping, which could stop 200,000 UK house sales falling through every year.

The Telegraph reports that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills floated the idea in a meeting last week with the National Association of Estate Agents.

BIS said it wanted to bring England in line with Scotland and make house sales legally binding earlier in the process than they are now.

In Scotland, offers are legal when the buyer accepts. In England and Wales, this happens when contracts are exchanged.

The news comes ahead of a call for evidence on improving the homebuying process that BIS will launch in the coming weeks.

The call for evidence was first announced in the Budget earlier this year.

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There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. About time too.

  2. My information is that in Scotland, offers are binding when the seller accepts the buyer’s bid. This makes it difficult to buy because a potential purchaser needs to wait until the date that bids are opened to find out whether they have made a purchase or not. Potential buyers in Scotland can incur expenses when making failed bids in just the same way as can failed purchasers in England who are gazumped.
    I am wary of any change in law made by the government because politicians have a habit of not thinking things through properly before they act. We are then left with the mess long after the minister concerned has moved on.
    One issue that would have to be addressed is that of permissible ‘subject to’ conditions and how they would operate. These could give the buyer the ability to game the system. In France, as I recall, the contract is in standard form and contains an optional extra clause to be used where the offer is subject to finance. Thus, a buyer can escape from the contract when this clause is included by failing to obtain the finance.

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