Gazumping needs 'radical overhaul'

A SOLICITOR called in by the Government to help it devise ways of cracking down on gazumping has hinted that nothing short of a radical overhaul of the system will be enough to solve the problem.

But Law Society council member Kenneth Byass, the solicitor on the government-appointed panel of experts set up to tackle the house buying problem, believes solicitors will continue to play a key role in house buying.

Byass and the other members of the government panel – representatives from consumer groups and other professional bodies – will analyse the results of a research study which will follow one thousand house purchases from the time the property is put on the market to when the new buyer moves in.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to do something for house buying. People view it as an ordeal but it should be exciting,” said Byass.

Although Byass did not want to pre-judge the enquiry, he said he suspected one popular idea to stamp out gazumping – the payment of a deposit by purchasers on their agreement to buy a house – would not work.

“I suspect we're going to have to be much more radical than that. We're going to have to go right back to basics and look at the process from start to finish.”

But he added: “I don't see how the public will be able to do without legal advice.”