The re-elected government is likely to push ahead with several new ideas that could make life more difficult for landlords Last week's re-election of the Labour government is expected to bring mixed blessings for overseas property buyers and sellers in Britain. The new government is likely to push ahead with a number of ideas it experimented with in the old parliament. These include the introduction of Home Information Packs, bundles of information about a property that sellers must present to prospective buyers. The controversial packs are intended to speed up the transaction process and ensure homeowners bring their properties to market only when they are serious about selling. Vendors pulling out of deals continues to be a source of frustration for buyers. But preparing packs will raise costs for vendors, and there is no guarantee the information they contain will be accurate. The packs will cost about GBP1,000 (about $14,700). The adage 'buyer beware' prevails, and buyers should make their own checks, including paying for building surveys. Moreover, property professionals fear the government might extend recently introduced health and safety legislation on rented Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to include smaller properties, thus increasing red tape and raising costs for landlords. 'The government will be scratching their heads for something to do, and making landlords lives more difficult could be one direction they are likely to take,' said Robert Hadfield, managing director of Pineflat, an investment property management company. 'They might extend HMO legislation down to homes containing two unrelated adults, from the present level of five.' Mr Hadfield believed Labour's long-standing commitment to building more homes, especially in the southeast of England, to ease housing supply pressures would be dogged by planning disputes if they finally begin construction during this parliament. About 15,000 homes are scheduled for completion on 100 sites by 2010. The government's pension reforms will encourage more private investment in residential property. A relaxation of rules to allow domestic buyers to include homes in self-invested personal pensions from April 2006 will lead to GBP11 billion being ploughed into cheaper properties - favourites of the buy-to-let sector, insurer Standard Life estimated. Property professionals believe this would boost capital values, which should be good news for holders of investment property but bad news for future investors who may find themselves having to pay more to make a purchase. Real estate investment trusts (reits) are likely to get the green light in next year's budget. These will give investors a simpler alternative to direct property ownership. However, analysts at Capital Economics believe that they will have a limited impact on supply and demand in the residential sector. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) is concerned that the property market could be hit by higher taxes under the new government. 'Many commentators, such as the International Monetary Fund, believe the government budget deficit must eventually be filled by raising taxes,' a Rics spokesperson said. 'Possible tax rises on households at a time of only moderate growth will restrain increases in disposable income, and so limit housing demand.' Now that the election is over, some estate agents expect housing market activity to pick up. Other professionals are sceptical, saying sales will remain sluggish until the gap between earnings and house prices narrows.