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Government could ban gazumping

Bricks building housing construction

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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  • Carl McGovern 13th May 2016 at 10:48 am

    All very good in practice, but in reality will we encounter more problems. On more than one occasion, I have had an agreement in principle, only to find once the full application goes in, a case gets declined. I guess this would need to be more binding for starters and as another poster has suggested, the property needs to be properly presented and surveyed by a surveyor acceptable to a lender.

  • Kate Faulkner 10th May 2016 at 8:03 pm

    I dont think 200,000 is right its less than 2% of sales from memory…should it be 20,000?

  • Paul Smulovitch 10th May 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Its about time action was taken to address this. People act in good faith and incur costs within this process. So many other countries in the world operate a fairer and most honest led process. There needs to be commitment from the outset by vendors and agents.

  • Chris Hulme 10th May 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Nice idea in theory, but in practice…. it’s impractical!

  • Peter Turner 10th May 2016 at 1:23 pm

    This argument regularly comes up but I am note sure that it does not simply replace one set of problems with a different one.

    In England, you put in an offer in the knowledge that if your subsequent due diligence shows the property is not what you thought it was then you can pull out.

    Is that worse than a system where you must do your due diligence before putting in an offer when you do not know if that offer will be accepted anyway?