The Competition and Markets Authority has repeated its support for more upfront information to be provided when a property goes on the market.
Simon Jones, director of consumer protection, told a Westminster Legal Policy Forum seminar on property law yesterday that 'one would think with existing leaseholds it should be easier to get information together'.
The CMA has been investigating whether consumer protection laws have been breached in the leasehold housing market. In an update report published last month, it called for a 'clear statement' of information such as the form of tenure and estimated annual costs to to be provided when the leasehold property goes on the market.
Conveyancers are already testing a property questionnaire, known as the Buying and Selling Property Information (BASPI), which was inspired by the thinking behind the home information packs introduced by the last Labour government and scrapped in 2010.
Jones said the attention its update report received is 'testament to the significance of the issues we investigated. For many, buying a house or flat will be their biggest purchase and a significant investment'.
Its report highlighted serious concerns about developers' relationships with panel solicitors. However, Jones told the seminar that conveyancing was 'one part of the overall process'.
The CMA is preparing to take enforcement action over certain instances of mis-selling and the problems faced by leaseholders from high and increasing ground rents.
During a question and answer session, Sir Peter Bottomley, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on leasehold and commonhold reform, asked if it was possible for the CMA to, for instance, declare leasehold clauses so unfair that they should be unenforceable. Jones replied that the CMA did not have those powers, but could ask the court to do that.