Outlawing gazumping would be a huge challenge, warning

Banning gazumping would be a huge challenge in law, industry veteran Nick Leeming has warned.

Speaking at the Instinctif Partners Great Housing Market Debate, Leeming, who has received a lifetime award for his contribution to the estate agency industry, said legislation would need to be addressed towards buyers and sellers as there is already a responsibility for estate agents to pass on all offers.

He said: “Any legislation needs to be addressed to the client.

“I think it would be a huge challenge to define in law how you prevent gazumping unless you move to the Scottish system, which goes too far the other way.”

Fellow panellist David Smith, economist and Sunday Times journalist, revealed he was once gazumped, adding: “You pay for solicitor fees, surveys, arrange a mortgage and at the last minute another buyer gets there first.

“This debate comes back periodically. There is a strong argument for reform in this area.”

Nigel Terrington, chief executive of Paragon, warned that the Scottish system, where gazumping is banned, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The Government is due to launch a consultation shortly on the house buying and selling process, which is thought to include a proposal to make gazumping illegal.