MPs are to investigate the role of conveyancers, upfront information and referral fees as part of a major inquiry into the home buying and selling process.

The House of Commons levelling up, housing and communities committee is calling for written evidence on various aspects of the transaction process, information provision and conveyancers.

For instance, the committee wants to know if consumers have sufficient information to determine which conveyancer to use, the idea of a legally enforceable code of practice for property agents, the impact of referral fees, and if buyers have the right information at the right time.

Committee chair Clive Betts said: ‘The process of buying and selling a home in England is often stressful for those involved. Indeed, despite there being around two million households who successfully buy or sell their home each year, consumers often find the process is not as efficient, effective, or as consumer-friendly as it could be.

‘As part of this inquiry, we will look at the chief obstacles to improving the process of buying and selling a home. We will be keen to examine issues such as the time taken to complete a transaction and challenges in finding the right information. Topics such as a lack of transparency around conveyancing services, the payment of “referral fees”, and the weak regulation of estate agents will also be on our agenda in this inquiry.’

The call for evidence closes on 18 April.

The inquiry was announced amid growing tensions between conveyancers and National Trading Standards over the latter's ‘material information’ guidance.

In other developments, days after the Law Society released a new TA6 property form to support National Trading Standards' guidance, the Conveyancing Association, a trade body, announced the fifth iteration of BASPI [buyer’s and seller’s property information form].

BASPI was developed by the upfront information working group of the Home Buying and Selling Group as a ‘single source of truth’ dataset to include all the information required on a property when it goes on the market.

Additions to the latest version include whether the property is located within the ULEZ area in London and details of any freehold shares and annual contributions.

Meanwhile, the Digital Property Market Steering Group’s survey on a draft digital property information protocol closes on 1 April.