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Alex raises house-purchasing cowboy tactics in Prime Minister’s Questions

The Government needs to bring forward regulations so that people can be protected from house-purchasing rip-off companies with their cowboy tactics, said Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).

A Stockton North constituent approached Mr Cunningham regarding a company that the constituent had used to try and sell his house. The company had given an offer which was accepted by the constituent, but as the deadline drew nearer, the company changed their offer at the last minute to a price much less than what the property is worth.

Upon hearing of the treatment his constituent had faced, Alex Cunningham wrote to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, who unfortunately said that there is nothing they can do – but that the Government carried out a call for evidence on ways to improve the home buying and selling process.  As a result, the Government have stated their intention to encourage the use of voluntary reservation agreements to increase commitment between buyers and sellers earlier on in the process.

Unsatisfied with this response, the Stockton North MP used his question to the Prime Minister to ask what she would do to end these tactics by such companies – but she simply referred Alex back to the Department for Housing Communities and Local Government.

Speaking after PMQs, Alex said:

“It is disappointing that the Government were not able to offer anything more robust as an outcome from the consultation that they carried out – a voluntary reservation agreement will do nothing to deter companies from providing a severely reduced offer just as the deal is about to go through and after the buyer has incurred substantial costs.

“The Prime Minister has referred me back to the Department, but it is the case that they simply are not doing enough to tackle this and to protect people in vulnerable circumstances who need urgent access to significant cash, and could be forced to sell their home at a price much lower than its worth. This government must do better to protect vulnerable people from these rip-off companies and introduce robust regulations to hold them to account.”