PCCB Supports Carsberg Call for New Regulatory Framework

Press release: 1 July 2008

The Property Codes Compliance Board (PCCB) – the body responsible for regulating HIP providers and personal search companies that subscribe to the HIP and Search Codes of Practice - has come out in support of Sir Bryan Carsberg’s call in his Review of Residential Property for a new and comprehensive regulatory framework covering home sales and other residential property matters.

It agrees that there is substantial evidence of market failure, and that a new regime is needed to improve consumers’ experience. The Board backs the drive to improve the quality of advice given to consumers when homes are bought and sold and to encourage transparency and fair competition. It also welcomes Sir Bryan’s endorsement of its own work in ensuring that registered HIP providers and search companies comply with high standards as laid out in their own Codes of Practice.

Richard Footitt, Chairman of the PCCB, said:

“This is a timely wake up call to the industry as a whole, and many of Sir Bryan’s recommendations can and should be acted on without delay. The Board is very willing to co-operate with others in the industry to make progress on a new regulatory framework where it makes sense to do so.”

The Board takes a different view from Sir Bryan, however, on Government’s role in residential property transactions, and on voluntary HIPs.

Richard Footitt went on to say:

“We believe that there is a good public interest case for Government to intervene selectively in the home buying and selling process, and take the view that consumers would benefit from the restoration of HIPs to their original form with a property survey. The Board is not persuaded that voluntary HIPs would deliver what consumers are looking for. It would like to see the whole of the industry responding positively to new initiatives such as HIPs, and building on them rather than trying to turn the clock back. HIPs are a potential catalyst for change and the PCCB wants to see that potential fully realised. That is why it will continue to work with HIP providers, search companies and others in the industry, as well as with consumer groups, to strengthen the existing Codes.

Legislation affecting the residential property market, including that on HIPs, should be reviewed when a new and comprehensive regulatory regime is in place and when it has demonstrated that real consumer benefits can be delivered. We will work with others who share that intent.”


Notes to Editors

The Property Codes Compliance Board was established in September 2006 to independently monitor compliance with the HIP Code and the Search Code. The Codes provide protection for home buyers, sellers, lenders and conveyancers relying on searches and HIPs as part of the home buying process, and include good practice standards, robust insurance requirements and the independent adjudication of complaints. The PCCB has a governing Board, with public interest directors and the Chairman is Richard Footitt. Further information on the PCCB including a listing of all registered firms can be obtained from: Property Codes Compliance Board: www.propertycodes.org.uk.

The HIP Code is sponsored by the Association of Home Information Pack Providers; www.hipassociation.co.uk. The Search Code is sponsored by the Council of Property Search Organisations: www.copso.org.uk.