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Consultation on the Home Report

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SECTION 1

This section seeks views on:

  • The Home Report objectives
  • What else the Home Report could be used for

Home Report Objectives[5]

1.1. The Home Report was introduced with these objectives:

a) to improve information about property condition and thereby provide an incentive for repair or maintenance works to be carried out;
b) to address the problem of buyers paying for multiple valuations and surveys which was prevalent in "market hotspots"; and
c) to address the problems created by the practice of setting artificially low asking prices.

1.2. Home Reports also provide information on the energy efficiency of a property and can help buyers obtain mortgage finance with the addition of the Generic Mortgage Valuation in the Single Survey. They also reduce search costs for prospective buyers, allowing them to rule out properties based on condition, cost or energy efficiency without having to incur the time and expense of visiting them in person.

1.3. The Interim Review found that it was too early to determine whether the Home Report would have a positive impact on the overall condition of Scotland's housing (objective a). The Interim Review also found that individual buyers were no longer having to purchase multiple surveys on a number of properties as they started making offers "subject to survey" prior to the introduction of the Home Report (objective b). It also found that the practice of setting artificially low asking prices had ended due to the shift to fixed price sales during the recession (objective c).

What else the Home Report could be used for

1.4. Since the introduction of the Home Report the housing market has changed dramatically. The Scottish Government has also moved forward in its vision for housing in Scotland.

1.5. The Scottish Government published its Strategy for Sustainable Housing in Scotland[6] in June 2013 and this has a number of objectives around improving the energy efficiency of housing in Scotland, contributing to the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 targets, eradicating fuel poverty and enabling the refurbishment and house-building sectors to contribute to and benefit from Scotland's low carbon economy.

1.6. The Sustainable Housing Strategy has an action to consider how the Home Report could be used to support behaviour change to encourage home owners to value sustainability, both in terms of condition and energy efficiency, of their houses. This could be done, for example, by bringing energy efficiency information to the front of the Home Report documents so that it is the first document a potential buyer reads, and/or including further information about whether a property is subject to Green Deal Finance in the Property Questionnaire.

1.7. Scottish Ministers also have powers to set up a register for Home Reports and make regulations on who can keep the register. There is already a register of Energy Performance Certificates and by having a register of Home Reports we could monitor the changes in both energy efficiency and condition over time.

Q1) Do you think the Home Report is meeting its original objectives? Yes/no
Q1a) If yes, please explain why
Q1b) If no, please explain why

Q2) Are the original Home Report objectives still appropriate? Yes/no
Q2a) If yes, please explain why
Q2b) If no, please explain why

Q3) Should the Home Report play a more central role in promoting energy efficiency and property condition improvements among home owners? Yes/no
Q3a) If yes, please explain why and how this could be done
Q3b) If no, please explain why

Q4) Should a national register of Home Reports be established? Yes/no
Q4a) If yes, please explain why including who should have responsibility for development and maintenance
Q4b) If no, please explain why