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‘Extend first-day marketing for owners facing repossession’

Simon Seaton, director of Fridays, said: "Sellers are currently faced with having to spend up to £400 on a HIP to put their property on the market but as from 6 April 2009 they will not be able to their property until such time as the majority of the Home Information Pack has been completed.

"Leaving aside the question as to whether or not the more vociferous anti-HIP campaigners are correct in stating that the HIP legislation represents an erosion of people’s civil liberty to market their property as and when they like, what cannot be disputed is the fact that the category of sellers most severely hit as a result of the legislative changes are those in the process of being repossessed."

According to Seaton, many sellers in recent months had advised agents and conveyancing lawyers that despite the legal requirement for a Home Information Pack, they simply could not afford to pay the upfront cost.

"Those facing repossession are in a very precarious financial position as they are caught between a rock and a hard place. Most sellers facing repossession are not able to afford the outlay for the HIP but, on the other hand, they need to market their property as quickly as possible to stave off repossession in order to protect any remaining equity.

"The impact of the removal of first-day marketing from 6 April is yet another body blow for homeowners facing repossession. Fridays would urge the Government to consider making an exception to first-day marketing in a situation whereby the seller is under threat of repossession proceedings by their lender," Seaton said.

In recent months the Government has introduced various measures to try and stem the tide of repossessions.

Seaton said: "A slight amendment to the HIP regulations to allow sellers to market their property as quickly as possible would greatly assist those with the unfortunate prospect of repossession. With at least two million people coming off cheaper fixed-term deals this year and with many likely to struggle to find another mortgage, it is essential that ministers offer as much relief as possible to those most vulnerable. Such an initiative wouldn’t cost the taxpayer a penny."

In the spirit of the proposal, Fridays is offering a free Home Information Pack to any sellers who have had repossession proceedings instigated against them.

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