Since 1st December 2008, any property for sale must be marketed with a Home Report. This report is a package of three documents – a Single Survey, an Energy Report and a Property Questionnaire. The report must be made available to legitimately interested parties on request. The detailed elements of the report are as follows:-

Single Survey

This is broadly comparable to the Homebuyer’s Report or “Scheme 2” valuation and contains an assessment by the surveyor of the condition of the home, a valuation and an accessibility audit for those with particular needs.

Energy Report

This comprises an assessment by the surveyor on the energy efficiency of the property, its environmental impact and ways in which its energy rating might be improved.

Property Questionnaire

This document is to be completed by the seller and will contain additional information about the home, such as council tax banding, any alterations to the property and the existence of any factoring, management or amenity charges.

You should contact your solicitor at andersonbain & co. to arrange for the Survey and Energy Certificate elements of the Home Report to be prepared. You, or someone nominated by you, can complete and sign the necessary Property Questionnaire.

Providing copies to prospective buyers

You or your agent must provide, on request, a copy Home Report to a prospective buyer within 9 days of a request being received. You may charge to cover the costs of copying and postage. The Home Report itself must be no more than 12 weeks old when the house is put on the market. A copy may be refused if you reasonably believe that the request comes from someone who is not genuinely interested or who does not have sufficient means to buy the property.

What is the shelf life of the home report?

There is no statutory “shelf-life” but typically mortgage lenders will not accept a report which is more than 12 weeks old. In that circumstance, the Report can be refreshed for an additional charge. The responsibility for this cost will depend on the negotiating position of the parties. It should be noted that there is no obligation on a purchaser to use the Home Report – concerns have been expressed about a purchaser or indeed its lender relying on a survey commissioned by the seller and it is anticipated that many buyers and lenders will insist on their own independent report.
Are there any properties which are exempt?

Yes, there are certain properties which will not require a Home Report, most notably:-

  • New Housing
  • Right to Buy Homes
  • Property Portfolios
  • Unsafe Properties
  • Properties of Dual Use

Advice for those buying

In addition to the compulsory elements of the Home Report, some surveyors may provide a generic Mortgage Valuation Report which might be useful in any discussion with lenders about a prospective purchase. Many lenders will, however, continue to require an independent report to be carried out and those lenders who are prepared to accept Home Reports for mortgage purposes will only do so if the surveyor who carried out the single survey is on the panel of surveyors maintained by that lender.

How do buyers obtain a copy?

Simply by asking the selling agent. There may be a small charge for this. The report should be provided in electronic or written form and must be made available within 9 days.

Can I discuss any matter with the surveyor?

Not until an offer of purchase has been accepted. If a prospective purchaser has any queries before that point, another surveyor must be instructed at the purchaser’s expense.

Can I rely on the report and do I have legal redress?

The legislation provides that the surveyor has a responsibility to both purchaser and seller. How this works in practice remains to be seen. It is, however, likely that any liability under the new scheme will be for material errors only – the legislation does not cater for mistakes which are not deemed to be “material” or substantive, For this reason, many purchasers are likely to continue to insist on their own independent report.

Property Lawyers Aberdeen, Edinburgh

If you’re thinking of buying or selling your home, we can help. We are a focused practice with decades of conveyancing experience. For expert conveyancing advice in Edinburgh, Aberdeen or the surrounding areas, please call Anderson Bain on 01224 456 789 or click here.

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