Date Published 09 July 2012

Housing minister Grant Shapps has ruled out taking any action to stamp out gazumping.

He was replying to a question from Gordon Henderson, Tory MP for Sittingbourne & Sheppey in Kent.

It is not known whether in the current market gazumping is a problem in his constituency or what prompted the question.

He asked Shapps in the Commons whether he `plans to take steps to mitigate the adverse effects of the practice of gazumping in the housing market`.

Shapps replied: `Home buyers and sellers in England and Wales are free to choose from a range of options, including some which give more certainty that their transaction will be completed.

`These include ‘lock-out' agreements, where the seller enters a binding agreement not to accept another offer within a certain period; ‘option to purchase' where the seller grants the buyer a binding option to purchase the property at the agreed price within a set timescale; ‘conditional contracts', where buyer and seller enter into a contract as soon as terms have been agreed, subject to certain conditions being satisfied; or ‘costs guarantee', where both buyer and seller agree to pay the other side's costs if they withdraw from the transaction.

`Given the flexibility of the present system, we have no plans for reform in this area at the present time.

`Home Information Packs, introduced under the last administration, were originally supposed to help tackle gazumping.

`In practice, they did no such thing as they were not trusted by buyers, and merely deterred sellers from putting their homes on the market. This is why the Coalition Government has abolished the requirement to have a Home Information Pack, saving home buyers and sellers from the unnecessary regulatory cost.`