Q1 - What documents are contained in a Home Report?
A Home Report must contain a Single Survey, an Energy Report, and a Property Questionnaire.
The Single Survey will contain:
The Energy Report contains an assessment by a surveyor of the energy efficiency of the home and its environmental impact (including an Energy Performance Certificate). It also recommends ways to improve its energy efficiency.
The Property Questionnaire will be completed by the seller of the home. It contains information about the home that will be useful for buyers.
Q2 - What do we mean by 'marketing' a house?
Section 119 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 defines the marketing of a house as follows:
'A house is on the market when the fact that it is or may become available for sale is, with a view to marketing the house, made public in Scotland by, or on behalf of the seller. A fact is made public when it is advertised or otherwise communicated (in whatever form and by whatever means) to the public or a section of the public'.
Q3 - What happens to properties in rural areas which often take longer to sell?
- In the circumstance where a house has been on the market for a long period since the Single Survey was undertaken, it is open to the seller to commission the surveyor to 'refresh' the Single Survey in order to attract more buyers. If that has not happened, a potential buyer may choose simply to get an updated valuation, whilst benefiting from the information on property condition in the Single Survey and the rest of the information in the Home Report. The legislation, however, does not require a refresh.
Q4 - What can buyers do if a Home Report is not provided?
Buyers must receive a Home Report within nine days of requesting it. If a buyer believes that they are being denied a copy of the Home Report unlawfully, they should consult with their local authority trading standards authority (in Scotland this is local authorities) which has responsibility for enforcing these duties. If they deem that the seller or selling agent is in breach of their duties under the Housing (Scotland) Act to possess the Home Report documents and provide them to prospective purchasers, then a penalty charge notice may be issued. The amount of penalty charge is £500 as a debt owed to the local authority. If a person wished to appeal against the issue of a penalty charge notice, they could appeal to the local authority and, if still dissatisfied, to appeal to the Sheriff.
Q5 - Are Home Reports required across Scotland?
Yes. All homes marketed for sale in Scotland, with only limited exceptions such as newly built homes, require a Home Report from 1 December 2008.
Q6 - How much will a Home Report cost and who pays?
The seller is responsible for the cost of a Home Report. Costs for a Home Report have been set by individual surveying firms and Home Report providers.
There is nothing in the legislation that insists that the successful buyer should reimburse the seller for the cost of the survey. There is likely to be a minimal or zero cost for the Property Questionnaire as it is filled in by sellers themselves.
Q7 - Does the Home Report have a specified shelf life, and do sellers have to pay for refreshed surveys if their homes have not sold after a few months?
The legislation does not impose a set shelf life or validity period for any of the Home Report documents. It also does not require that a Home Report is refreshed. Decisions as to whether any aspects of the Home Report need to be refreshed/updated are for sellers, buyers and their professional advisers to take, depending on the circumstances of each case. The refresh is not an additional survey, but usually a simple re-inspection.
Q8 - Can I use the Scottish Government's Home Report or Saltire logos on my Home Report materials?
The Home Report logo should not be used by a practitioner to endorse:
a specific product, such as the Single Survey, Property Questionnaire and Energy Report PDFs
industry bodies and private organisations
industry products like Home Report provider services
marketing campaign/collateral to sell the practitioner's products.
This means that the logo should only appear on approved Scottish Government materials. The Scottish Government will shortly issue materials for use by practitioners, which will include an explanatory note about Home Reports. This will be a self-standing item branded with the Home Report and Scottish Government logos. This will be available to download or through the mailbox on homereportscotland.gov.uk. It should not be modified or adapted by the practitioner.
Further information on the use of the SG logo.