Submissions made public to a parliamentary inquiry into the home buying and selling process suggest MPs will receive contrasting evidence on how the residential property sector should be improved.

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

CILEX, the chartered institute for legal executives, said sellers should be required to provide ‘material information’ about their properties at the earliest possible stage and the government should introduce an ‘auction-style pack… where potential buyers can view and search title and accompanying documents’.

However solicitor Stephen Larcombe, on behalf of the Property Lawyers Action Group, says the 'contents of the core questionnaire at [material information]’s heart completed by the seller, are verging on the absurd, and have been heavily criticised as exposing sellers and estate agents to numerous legal liabilities’.

Larcombe said the idea of ‘end-to-end’ digitisation is flawed and a single platform with 'endless data' would leave sellers open to fraud.

Business and trade minister Kevin Hollinrake MP and Gavin Starks, chief executive of Ice Breaker One, co-chair the Smart Data Council. In a letter to the committee, they say the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill is expected to become law this summer and home buying is one of seven sectors that the government will explore.

Their letter says: ‘We are shortly due to publish the Smart Data roadmap, which sets out how we will build on the success of open banking over the coming year by identifying the opportunities and challenges in implementing Smart Data schemes in the seven sectors. The home buying and selling sector is at the identification stage of Smart Data Scheme development... By summer 2024, [the department for levelling up, housing and communities] will deliver a number of pilot projects to inform future digitalisation of the buying and selling process, which is an important first step towards Smart Data Scheme development.’


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